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Education and Training

Alumnae Profile

Arzu KarimovaArzu Karimova

Arzu Karimova participated in the Missouri NEW Leadership™ program, the 21st Century Leadership Academy, in 2005. 
Karimova was born in Azerbaijan. She speaks four languages: Azerbaijani, Russian, English and Turkish. She has a BA in economics and political science from a prestigious private university, and she received her master's in public policy administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
While in college, Karimova helped found the Global Action Youth Network (GAYN), which encourages youth organizations to work together and maximize the impact of youth activism around the world.  GAYN is one of the largest networks of youth organizations ever created, known for its role in increasing youth participation within the United Nations system.
When she attended the Leadership Academy, Karimova didn't realize that ten years later she would be a global leader in the fight against cervical cancer, planning very different models for global women's health issues. Today, she is one of the founders of CerviaDx Innovation, a Chicago-based company that is helping to develop new molecular diagnostic screening for cervical cancer. She says that CerviaDx will not only bring precision to cervical cancer diagnosis but also allow otherwise uninsured women to have access to cancer screening, since it will lower the cost of testing significantly from $100 to $5. One day this product will allow millions of women around the globe with no current access or infrastructure for care to get tested and treated.

She says that, "My decision to help found this company was personal, but with the help of the leadership skills that I obtained from the 21st Century Leadership Academy, I knew I had to face the challenge, and if I really wanted to fix it, I needed to trust in myself and DO IT."

More about Missouri New Leadership™.