Leymah Gbowee

Liberian peace activist and Nobel Laureate

Sub-Saharan Africa
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 LeymahRGbowee

Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist who led a women’s peace movement that helped to end the country’s Second Civil War in 2003. Gbowee organized numerous nonviolent protests to end the war, including large-scale sit-ins, encouraging women to register to vote, occupying official premises, and even a “sex strike.” Because of these protests, Liberian president Charles Taylor agreed to attend peace talks to negotiate with rebel groups, leading to the end of the war. Gbowee was the executive director of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa and a founding member of the Women in Peacebuilding Program. Gbowee served as the commissioner-designate for the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is the focus of the award-winning documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” Along with Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman, Gbowee was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. She earned an MA in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia and is the recipient of several honorary degrees. She is the recipient of the New York Women’s Foundation Century award (2013) and the Oxfam American Right the Wrong award (2014). In 2011 she published “MIghty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer and Sex Changed a Nation at War”, which recounts her journey through civil war and activism. Most recently she founded and serves as president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation which promotes equal rights and reconciliation in West African countries. She is also the executive director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at Columbia University. Gbowee remains a prominent voice on peace and security issues via speaking engagements, interviews and social media posts.

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