Up Close with Joyce Banda
Joyce Banda, former president of the Republic of Malawi, was the Thursday plenary speaker at the NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia. Before her plenary, Banda joined NAFSA Board Member Diana Carlin, PhD, for an Up Close interview where she shared her insights on the importance of education as a way to empower girls and women, especially those living in Africa today.
About Joyce Banda
Former president of the Republic of Malawi Joyce Banda is an activist, entrepreneur, politician, and philanthropist who champions the rights of women, children, people with physical disabilities, and other marginalized groups in her native Malawi and throughout the world.
Banda served as president of the Republic of Malawi from 2012 to 2014. She was the first female president of Malawi and the second 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’s and girls’ civil rights and empowerment, Banda founded the Joyce Banda Foundation International, which guides a range of initiatives from helping women become financially independent through business training to supporting orphans through schools and care centers.
Banda has been the recipient of multiple international awards, including the 1997 Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger that she shared with Joaquim Chissano, then president of Mozambique. She was also a key player in the founding of several organizations, including the African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (AFWE), the Council for Economic Empowerment for Women in Africa (CEEWA), and the American and African Business Women’s Alliance (AABWA), for which she served as the first president.
Banda was recently named a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Woodrow Wilson Center. In 2016 she became a member of the United Nations Council of Women World Leaders.