Educating leaders for a sustainable future.

Read about her Appointment

Dr. Joyce Banda (pictured above with Akilah President Karen Sherman), Africa’s second female president and long-time champion of women and girl’s education, will bring her wide-ranging experience in government, business, and advocacy to the Akilah Institute, Rwanda’s only college for women.

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“Governments, academic institutions, and the private sector must actively work together to remove barriers facing women so that they can attain positions of leadership. Akilah offers an important success story in this regard. By selecting promising young women, providing them with intensive leadership training, and partnering with the private sector to prepare them for careers in Africa’s fastest-growing industries, Akilah has pioneered a new and effective method for women’s education.

– Dr. Joyce Banda

“I am tirelessly researching, documenting, and raising my voice for the education of the African girl-child and the empowerment of women,” Dr. Banda wrote in her acceptance of the appointment. “You can therefore count on my commitment in the task before me.”


Center for Global Development

Harmful cultural practices and norms—even the seemingly non-violent ones that consign girls to bear the brunt of household labor—have consequences for nutrition, health, educational achievement, sexual abuse, and child marriage. In an essay for the Center for Global Development, Dr. Banda discusses the critical need for a research agenda that places girls aged 0 to 10 at the center of policy to address harmful practices.

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Wilson Center

Leaders are born; yet many born female in rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa go unrecognized largely because, from day one, women and girls face a political, cultural and social environment that inhibits their development into well-equipped female leaders. In her research as a Distinguished Fellow for the Wilson Center, Dr. Banda shares her agenda for Advancing Women Leaders in Africa.

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About Dr. Joyce Banda

Dr. Joyce Banda was the President of the Republic of Malawi from 2012 to 2014. She was Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second. She is also an entrepreneur, activist, politician, and philanthropist. In 1997, she received the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger, alongside the President of Mozambique, and used the prize money to launch the Joyce Banda Foundation International, which has started three schools and provided an education to more than 3,500 girls. Dr. Banda was instrumental in the formation of the African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, the Council for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa, and the American & African Business Women’s Alliance. Forbes Magazine recognized her as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

President Banda holds a M.A. in Leadership from the Royal Rhodes University of Canada, a B.S. in Gender Studies from Atlantic International University (U.S.), and a Diploma in NGO Management from the International Labor Organization Center in Turin, Italy. Jeonju University of South Korea conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Economics on Dr. Banda in January 2013, and Wheelock College conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education on her in May 2015.

Featuring Dr. Banda