Khitam was born in 1980, right at the beginning of the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War. She was raised in Baghdad, and in 1991 witnessed the terrifying attacks on the city during the Iraqi-Kuwaiti War. She also experienced the economic embargo on Iraq turned daily life into "mission impossible." After the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, Khitam worked at the Iraqi Assistance Center established by the US Army to support the Iraqi people. The following year, she joined USIP. In 2007, Khitam's brother was killed during a random shooting by a group of terrorists, making her even more determined to help people escape the horrors of violent conflict.