For Immediate Release

Washington, March 15, 2018 – Former President of the Republic of Malawi Joyce Banda will speak at the 2018 NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As an activist, entrepreneur, politician and philanthropist, Banda works to champion for the rights of women, children, the physically challenged and other marginalized groups in Malawi and throughout the world. She will address the conference on Thursday, May 31.

Banda served as president of Malawi from 2012 to 2014, making her the first-ever female president of Malawi and the second-ever female president in Africa. In 2014, Forbes named her the 40th most powerful woman in the world and the most powerful woman in Africa. An advocate for women and girls’ civil rights and empowerment, Banda founded the Joyce Banda Foundation International, which guides initiatives that include helping women become financially independent through business training to supporting schools and care centers for orphans.

“Our international community relies on strong global leaders to ensure education and cross-cultural competency can thrive and progress around the world,” stated Esther D. Brimmer, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO. “As the first female president of Malawi and a fierce advocate for educational empowerment, Joyce Banda will provide a meaningful and vital perspective to the conference.”

Banda is the recipient of multiple international awards including the Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger that she shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 1997. She was also key in the founding of several organizations including the African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (AFWE), the Council for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa (CEEWA) and the American & African Business Women’s Alliance (AABWA), in which she served as First President. Banda recently was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Woodrow Wilson Center. In 2016, she joined the United Nations Foundation Council of Women World Leaders.

The plenary session featuring Joyce Banda is sponsored by Drexel University. Learn more about all the plenary speakers at

About the NAFSA Conference

NAFSA’s 70th Annual Conference & Expo is the world’s largest gathering of professionals in international education with an expected 10,000 attendees from more than 100 countries. The conference offers a wide array of learning and networking opportunities for international educators, and features more than 200 sessions and workshops focusing on the most crucial topics in international education and exchange and global learning.

A major highlight of the conference is the International Education Expo Hall, which features more than 400 exhibitors representing hundreds of organizations from around the world, including colleges and universities; study abroad and intensive-English programs; embassies and government agencies; and more. The conference theme for 2018 is “Diverse Voices, Shared Commitment.” It will be held in Philadelphia, May 29–June 1, 2018.

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Sample Tweet: First female president of Malawi @DrJoyceBanda to speak at #NAFSA2018, world’s largest #IntlEd conference

About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit and @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter. Resources to guide our members on these issues can be found at