News / Africa

Liberian Nobel Laureate Talks About Giving Back

Liberian Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee in New York, October 7, 2011.
Liberian Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee in New York, October 7, 2011.
James Butty
Liberian Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee said she wants to use her Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa to provide educational and leadership opportunities for Liberian and other West African women.

Gbowee, a social worker, won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Gbowee explained why her foundation, established earlier this year, is focusing on education and youth and women empowerment.

“We have found out, and through my own experience, that in most of our communities there are a lot of young people with potential to be great leaders in the future. What is lacking is the opportunity for them to move forward. So, our goal at the foundation is to make an effort to find those who find themselves in challenging situation but are trying to make it,” she said.

Gbowee said her foundation is also focusing on building leadership skills among young people to bridge what she calls “a leadership gap” in Africa.

“In Africa, we have a little problem when it comes to [finding] leaders that are accountable to their people and responsible for their actions,” said Gbowee.  “And, working with these young people, we’re hoping that we can get to a place where we’re able to at least have a new generation of transformative leaders in Africa - people who will think about providing for their communities and not for themselves.”

She said the foundation focuses on increasing educational opportunities for girls and women by offering full scholarships to selected individuals.

Butty interview with Gbowee
Butty interview with Gboweei
|| 0:00:00

“What we do is that we seek opportunities with institutions using my work experience and the platform to give us scholarships, and we provide scholarships, currently for young Liberians to go to school in different parts of the world,” Gbowee said.

Gbowee was head of the national Peace and Reconciliation Commission established by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2011. But she resigned in October 2012 citing insufficient progress by government in promoting reconciliation.

She said her foundation will organize in 2013 what she called Peace Through Fair Play, “an overnight camp for youths aged 10 to 19 years old to engage each other through sports and workshops on reconciliation, family planning, and education.”

While she said she loves politics, Gbowee said she has no immediate desire to run for political office in Liberia.

“Let me say one thing, my life has always been one of giving back. I tell people I’m a Liberian and I have the right to decide if I want to go into politics. But one of the things that I can say to you, very clearly, you will not see my name on any ballot paper any time soon,” Gbowee said.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs