The Power Behind Women’s Leadership and Investing in Youth: Leymah Gbowee #IWD

Published on March 8, 2013 | Written by

In honor of International Women’s Day we would like to pay tribute to a woman who has changed the world forever: Leymah Gbowee. Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist who led a women’s peace movement in Liberia that contributed to ending the Second Liberian Civil War. One of the women that Gbowee worked with, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was eventually elected President of Liberia in 2005, 2 years after the end of the civil war, and became the first female head of state in all of Africa. In 2011 Gbowee, along with Sirleaf and Tawakkol Karmon, a leader in the 2011 Yemeni uprising, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”. Additionally she was just named by The Guardian as one of Africa’s top women achievers.

In April, the Upper Midwest Affiliate to PeaceJam, youthrive, is bringing Gbowee to the Twin Cities for their annual two-day event, PeaceJam. The theme of this year’s PeaceJam is “Hope: Ignite Action to Break the Cycle of Violence.” The youth conference, which features Nobel Laureates and connects them with youth communities across the country, will take place on April 27-28th. It is open to the public and will be held at North High School in Minneapolis. A public talk will be held Sat., April 27, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park. Through a strategic partnership, youthrive and Youthprise work together to promote authentic youth engagement  in Minnesota and advance youth-adult partnerships.

Gbowee’s dedication to building a peace movement in her home country that draws on a strong base of women leaders shows how important it is to recognize the potential of women as leaders. Her continued work in sharing her story and inspiring millions around the world to build movements around peace shows how powerful the rhetoric of non-violence can be. And her partnership this year with PeaceJam, an organization dedicated to forming connections between Nobel Laureates and young people across the country, shows that she recognizes the power behind working with young people as leaders.

In honor of International Women’s Day and our dedication to youth around the world, we would like to thank Gbowee for all of the incredible work she has done, and for the generations of young people she continues to impact.

Lizzy Shramko

Communications Associate, Youthprise

*Photo credit: Michael Angelo

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