Skip to Main Content

Leymah Gbowee

2015 Speaker

LEYMAH GBOWEE is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker, women’s rights advocate and 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate. She is founder and current president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. She was the founding head of the Liberian Reconciliation Initiative, and was the co-founder and former executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberia Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). Gbowee is currently named a Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice at Barnard College. She travels internationally to advocate for human rights and peace and security.

Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace – which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 – is chronicled in her memoir, “Mighty Be Our Powers,” and in the award-winning documentary, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” She has appeared on numerous television programs including CNN, BBC and France24. Gbowee currently serves as a member of the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development. She serves on the board of directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation, Federation of Liberian Youth and the PeaceJam Foundation. She is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. Gbowee is an Oxfam Global Ambassador, and received the Women’s Refugee Council’s Voices of Courage award in 2014. She has received honorary degrees from Rhodes University in South Africa, the University of Alberta in Canada, Polytechnic University in Mozambique, Cedar Crest College in the United States and University of Dundee in Scotland. She earned a M.A. in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. @leymahrgbowee

Photo credit: Michael Angelo for Wonderland