Dr. Joyce Banda
Former President of Malawi
An entrepreneur, activist, politician, philanthropist, and global champion for women and girls, Her Excellency Joyce Banda served as the President of the Republic of Malawi from 2012-2014, the first female to hold this position. Prior to assuming office, President Banda served as a Member of Parliament, Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Foreign Minister, and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi.
President Banda was named one of the world’s most powerful black women by Forbes in 2013 and 2014, and one of the most 100 influential people in the world by both TIME and Forbes. In 2014, CNN named her one of the most inspirational woman in politics. She has won numerous awards for her work on the global stage, and was recently named one of Apolitico’s most 100 Influential People in Gender Policy.
She is the Founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation, which she established after receiving the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger in 1997. The Foundation has served over 1.3 million Malawians. President Banda regularly serves as a panelist and motivational speaker at international conferences and fora, and has spoken at the International Conference on Women in Beijing, the New African Woman Forum, the UNDP High Level Dialogue on Good Governance and Women Deliver Conference. She frequently lectures at universities including Harvard Medical School and the Kennedy School of Government, the London School of Economics and Political Science, George Washington University, Kansas State University, New York University among others.
In addition, she also serves on the Board of Nutrition International in Canada, and Board Member of the Tana High Level Forum for Peace and Security in Africa. She has recently been appointed Member of Counsel of Former and Serving Female Heads of State along with Prime Minister Theresa May and she is a Founding Member and Chair for Rural Women of the African Women Leaders Network, an initiative of UNWomen and the African Union. She is an active member of the Club de Madrid, and is honorary chancellor of the Akilah Institute in Rwanda. She has also served as a Distinguished Fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Center and Center for Global Development.
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 (ILO) Center in Turin, Italy. Jeonju University of South Korea conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Economics for Her Excellency in January, 2013, and Wheelock College conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education for her in May, 2015. She also holds an honorary degree from Colgate University.