Joyce Hilda Banda
With a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Columbus University and a diploma in management from the ITC-ILO, she is the second woman to be appointed President in Africa, after Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia.
Ms Banda was nominated President of Malawi this April. She was the country's first female vice-president and is now Malawi's first female president. According to the media, her first challenge is going to be “restoring relations with donor nations to the poverty stricken nation”. Malawi is one of the poorest countries of the world, with more than 75 percent of the population earning less than $1 a day.
During her long career, Ms Banda was a Member of Parliament and Minister for Gender, Children's Affairs and Community Services. Prior to an active career in politics she has been involved, since the age of 25, in many grassroots projects for women to bring about policy change, particularly in education.
Ms Banda was the founder of:
- the Joyce Banda Foundation for Better Education, a charitable foundation that assists Malawian children and orphans through education.
- the National Association of Business Women (NABW), a non-profit foundation aiming to lift women out of poverty by strengthening their capacity and empowering them economically.
- The Young Women Leaders Network, a leadership development organization providing young female high school students with personal and professional skills to pursue their vision for change.
- Hunger Project in Malawi.
She was listed in Forbes Magazine 2011 as the third most powerful woman in Africa and she served as commissioner for "Bridging a World Divided". Among her other awards, in 2006, she received the International Award for the Health and Dignity of Women for her dedication to the rights of the women of Malawi by the Americans for United Nations Population Fund, and she was nominated Woman of the Year in Malawi in 1997 and 1998. Last, but not least, she was awarded a Turin Centre Diploma in Management in 1995.
We are proud to count her among our former participants and we look forward to Joyce Banda distinguishing herself as an inspiring African woman president. Congratulations, Ms Banda!