Campus News

04.18.2019

Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate, to be Commencement Speaker at Soka University

Aliso Viejo, CA – Daniel Habuki, PhD, president of Soka University of America, is honored to announce that Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate and Liberian peace activist, will be SUA’s Commencement Speaker on May 24, 2019.

Featured in the award-winning documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee is best known for leading a non-violent movement that brought together Christian and Muslim women to play a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s devastating, 14-year civil war in 2003. This historic achievement paved the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  Gbowee, Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

A trained social worker and women’s rights advocate, Ms. Gbowee is the founder and president of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa-USA, founded in 2012 in Monrovia, Liberia, which provides educational and leadership opportunities to girls, women and the youth in Liberia. Gbowee is also the former executive director of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa, based in Ghana, which builds relationships across the West African sub-region in support of women's capacity to prevent, avert, and end conflicts. She is a founding member and former coordinator of the Women in Peacebuilding Program/West African Network for Peacebuilding. She also served as the commissioner-designate for the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

Gbowee serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative and the PeaceJam Foundation, and in 2013, she became an Oxfam Global Ambassador. She serves as a Sustainable Development Goals Advocate for the United Nations and as a Member of the World Refugee Council. In 2017 Gbowee was selected to serve on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Board.  Gbowee is also Executive

“We’re very proud that Soka University is welcoming Leymah Gbowee back to campus,” added Dr. Habuki, noting that she spoke on “Outrageous Acts of Peace” on a previous visit in 2014.   “Our mission is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life.  Discussions on individual actions for peace are central to our core values.”

 

Soka University offers an 8:1 student/faculty ratio, average class size of 12, and study abroad for every undergraduate student (included in tuition.)  Admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less may be eligible for Soka Opportunity Scholarships which cover full tuition.  Additional scholarship opportunities are available for higher income levels. About 60% of Soka University's students come from the US and 40% have come from more than 50 other countries.   SUA is currently ranked in the Top 25 National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2019.”   www.soka.edu