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Joyce Banda

Joyce Banda (April 12, 1950-)

Head of State/Reformer/Visionary

President of the Republic of Malawi

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Joyce Banda.

“I will serve my country and my people with your help and the help of God and to the best of my ability.”

BandaMalawi, surrounded by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania, is a small landlocked country about the size of Pennsylvania, located in Southeast Africa. Malawians made history by electing Dr. Joyce Banda as their first female head of state on April 7, 2012 following the death of 78-year-old President Bingu wa Mutharika. As Malawi’s first female President, Dr. Banda is the continent’s second female Head of State, and is a champion for women, children, and the underprivileged. Forbes magazine has recognized Dr. Banda as one of Africa's most powerful women.

Before her election to the presidency, Dr. Banda spent thirty years as a development practitioner, a philanthropist, and a champion for social justice and equality. President Banda’s driving vision is to eradicate poverty in Malawi through economic growth and wealth creation. To date, she has prioritized programs to help women and children gain social and political power through entrepreneurship and education. Among her first initiatives as President was the creation of the Presidential Initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction aimed at increasing food security. Dr. Banda has also created the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, aimed at reducing Malawi’s high infant mortality rates.

President Banda holds a Bachelor of Social Studies in Gender Studies from the Atlantic International University in the United Sates, and a diploma in Non-Governmental Organization and Management from the International Labour Organization (ILO) Centre in Turch, Italy. Currently, President Banda is completing a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership at Royal Roads University in Canada. Jeonju University of South Korea conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree on President Banda in January 2013.

Photo: Republic of Malawi http://www.un.int/wcm/content/site/malawi/cache/offonce/pid/15104 (Accessed 1/24/14)
http://www.apbspeakers.com/speaker/joyce-banda (Accessed 1/24/14)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Her-Excellency-Dr-Joyce-Banda/325799237543309?sk=info (Accessed 1/24/14)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17662916 (Accessed 1/24/14)

Compiled by Beverly Moore


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