President Dr Joyce Banda
An entrepreneur, activist, politician and philanthropist, Her Excellency Joyce Banda served as the President of the Republic of Malawi from 2012-2014. She was Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second. Prior to assuming office, President Banda served as a Member of Parliament, Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Foreign Minister, and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi.
President Banda is credited for turning around an economy on the verge of collapse in 2012. She instituted a number of economic reforms which led to significant expansion and repealed a number of draconian laws which had weakened democratic institutions, infringed upon civil liberties, and restricted the freedom of the press.
President Banda founded the Joyce Banda Foundation International, which continues to transform villages in Malawi through its work supporting women’s economic empowerment, education, maternal health, HIV/AIDS programs, leadership training, and support for human rights.
President Banda was named one of the world’s 50 most powerful women by Forbes in 2013 and 2014, and one of the most 100 influential people by TIME. In 2014, CNN named her one of the most inspirational women in politics.
President Banda holds a M.A. in Leadership from Royal Rhodes University of Canada, a B.S. in Gender Studies from Atlantic International University, and a diploma in NGO Management from the International Labor Organization (ILO) Center in Turin, Italy. Jeonju University of South Korea conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Economics for Her Excellency in 2013, and Wheelock College conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education for her in 2015.
She is currently a distinguished fellow with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Center for Global Development.