Former Malawi President Joyce Banda Joins the Akilah Institute as Honorary Chancellor
Joyce Banda, Africa’s second female president and long-time champion of women and girl’s education, will bring her wide-ranging experience in public life, business, and advocacy to the Akilah Institute, Rwanda’s only college for women.
On May 31, 2017 — The Akilah Institute announced that former Malawi President Joyce Banda will join the college as Honorary Chancellor. Banda brings extensive experience in leadership and women’s empowerment to the Akilah Institute at an important time, as Akilah scales its proven model across sub-Saharan Africa via a network of new campuses.
“Akilah is thrilled to welcome Dr. Banda as our Honorary Chancellor,” said Akilah President Karen Sherman. “Given her staunch commitment to education and her extensive track record in women’s advocacy, the partnership was a very natural one. Dr. Banda’s personal mission to empower women aligns with Akilah’s own vision to educate the next generation of women leaders in Africa.
She will be a key thought partner as we execute our plans for scale, including opening seven new campuses to serve a collective 53,000 women across Africa.”
Banda and Sherman formalized the partnership today with a meeting in Virginia. “As a former president, businesswoman, and philanthropist, Dr. Banda exemplifies the values we seek to instill in our students,” Ms. Sherman said following the meeting. “Leadership, community service, professionalism, and career growth are pillars of the Akilah curriculum.
Dr. Banda embodies all of them. Dr. Banda is a role model not only for our students and women in sub-Saharan Africa but also for women around the world.”
For Banda, the appointment offers an opportunity to build on her extensive track record in advocacy for women. “I am tirelessly researching, documenting, and raising my voice for the education of the African girl-child and the empowerment of women,” Banda wrote in her acceptance of the appointment. “You can therefore count on my commitment in the task before me.”
“Governments, academic institutions, and the private sector must actively work together to remove barriers facing women so that they can attain positions of leadership,” Banda said. “Akilah offers an important success story in this regard. By selecting promising young women, providing them with intensive leadership training, and partnering with the private sector to prepare them for careers in Africa’s fastest-growing industries, Akilah has pioneered a new and effective method for women’s education,” she said.
Banda will bring her decades of experience in government, advocacy, business, and philanthropy to Akilah’s executive team. She will play a strategic role in the Akilah Institute’s growth plans and will provide advisory support as the institute identifies new campus locations, diploma programs, and education products to better serve women across Africa.