2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate.
She is the founder and current president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa and the executive director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Gbowee was the founding head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, and the co-founder and former executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberian Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP).
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 holds a Master of Arts in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA), and has received a number of honorary degrees, including from Rhodes University in South Africa, the University of Alberta in Canada, Polytechnic University in Mozambique, American University in the United States, Cedar Crest College in the United States, and University of Dundee in Scotland.
Gbowee advises numerous organizations working for peace, women’s rights, youth and sustainable development, and has held distinguished fellowships at Barnard College and Union Theological Seminary. Gbowee serves on the High Level Panel on Mediation for the United Nations and as a member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, The World Refugee Council, The High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development, and The African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning.
Gbowee travels internationally to advocate for human rights and peace and security. She has been named as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy” by Apolitical and one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine. She has appeared on numerous television programs including CNN, BBC and France24. Gbowee received the Women’s Refugee Council’s Voices of Courage Award in 2014. In 2016, Gbowee was awarded the Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize (LAAP) for Peace in Africa by the Millennium Excellence Foundation. In 2018, Gbowee was appointed to the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency.
Gbowee is the proud mother of eight children.