Gbowee, the annual Carol Hoffmann Collins Global Scholar–in–Residence, will give a lecture titled “Women's Leadership: Ending Wars and Building Peace” at 7 pm October 23 in the Art Building’s Gamble Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be simulcast
Gbowee—a Liberian peace activist, social worker, public speaker, and women’s rights advocate—was 17 when the Liberian civil war turned her “from a child to an adult in a matter of hours.” She became convinced that women should work to restore peace and put her conviction into action. This story is told in her 2011 memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers
, and in the 2008 documentary film Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Gbowee's leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003. Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said that “Leymah bore witness to the worst of humanity and helped bring Liberia out of the dark.”
She later founded the and currently serves as its president. This past summer, four MHC students traveled to Liberia and worked as interns at the Gbowee Peace Foundation. Their duties ranged from conducting research for grant proposals to presenting workshops on resume writing to assisting the Foundation’s scholarship recipients with applications to international schools.
Gbowee also founded the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative and is cofounder and former executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa.
She earned a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University. After receiving the Barnard Medal of Distinction, she was named a distinguished fellow in social justice, a visiting transnational fellow at the Center for Research on Women, and fellow in residence at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. Gbowee also received honorary doctorates from universities in South Africa, Canada, and Mozambique.
Gbowee is the mother of six children, including an MHC junior.
• View a video
of Gbowee’s Nobel Prize talk.
• View the New York Times video
, Leymah Gbowee: The Dream
, by Errol Morris.