September 13, 2023 |

Leymah Roberta Gbowee (she/her), 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker, and women’s rights advocate. An award-winning global thought leader for peace and social justice, Ms. Gbowee is the Executive Director of the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law.

Ms. Gbowee won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace; bringing together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003—chronicled in her memoir; Mighty Be Our Powers, and in the award-winning documentary, Pray the Devil back to Hell.

Ms. Gbowee is a longstanding advocate and facilitator for peace and justice around the globe. She is the Founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) and Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa-USA (GPFA-USA). She previously served as the Executive Director of the Women, Peace, and Security Program at Columbia University. In Liberia, she founded the National Peace & Reconciliation Initiative and is 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).

Ms. Gbowee advises numerous organizations working for peace, women’s rights, youth, and sustainable development, including the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, the World Refugee Council, the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development, the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocacy Group. In 2018, Ms. Gbowee was appointed to the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency. She currently serves as a Member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation, as a Juror for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Hilton Humanitarian Prize, and as a Trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

In addition to her memoir and documentary work, Ms. Gbowee’s work is widely published across news outlets and academic journals including the New York Times, The United Nations Association-UK Magazine, CNN, and the Columbia SIPA Journal of International Affairs. She has been interviewed and quoted by media ranging from Al Jazeera to Essence to the New York Times Op-Docs. Ms. Gbowee regularly gives speaking engagements and participates in public panels hosted by organizations including the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (2021), the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (2021), and the United Nations (2020), among many others.

Widely recognized by the media, academic institutions, and rights-based organizations for her leadership, Ms. Gbowee has been named one of the 100 Most Influential African Women by Avance Media (2019), one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy by Apolitical (2018, 2019), and one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine (2018). In 2020, Ms. Gbowee was honored with the Martin & Coretta King Inaugural Peace & Justice Award; in 2019, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) presented her with its Global Leadership Award. She holds an M.A. in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University and has held distinguished fellowships at Barnard College (2013-15) and Union Theological Seminary (2014-16). Ms. Gbowee has received a number of honorary degrees from universities around the world, including an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters from Brooklyn College in New York (2022), an Honorary Doctor of International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C., (2018), and a Doctor of Laws (LLD) Honoris Causa from Rhodes University in South Africa (2011).