Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, an economic policy expert and social activist who has spearheaded groundbreaking initiatives against extremism, corruption and gender-based violence, will receive the Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity in a March 17 ceremony at the University of Notre Dame.
The prize will be awarded after Ezekwesili delivers a keynote speech titled ”A Complex Crisis: Towards a Just and Sustainable Future,” as a member of Dignity and Development Foruma conference organized by the Keough School of Global Affairs.
A leader globally, nationally and locally, and in economics, governance and politics, Ezekwesili will be honored with the award, particularly for her contributions to promoting due process and justice. transparency in government operations and for her work with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which she helped co-found in response to the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria in April 2014.
“It is often assumed that powerful private and public interests inevitably corrupt governance, wherever you are in the world. Ezekwesili’s contributions as a policy maker and thought leader show that there is nothing inevitable about this,” said Patrizio Pirainodirector of the Ford Program in International Development Studies and Solidaritywho awards the prize.
“She teaches us that ethical standards can and should guide the development of effective policies.”
Ezekwesili is Senior Economic Adviser for the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative and one of the co-founders and pioneering directors of Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organization based in Berlin. She is also the founder and CEO of Human Capital África, working in the education sector across the continent.
In early 2020, Ezekwesili founded the #FixPolitics initiative, a research-based citizen movement created “to structurally rethink politics and its outcomes.” She is also the Founder and President of the School of Politics, Politics and Governance in Abuja, Nigeria, an outgrowth of #FixPolitics which seeks to create a new “disruptive thinking political class” by educating current and future leaders. dedicated to the common good.
Ezekwesili served in the government of Nigeria between 2000 and 2007, first as minister of minerals and later of education. She served as Vice President of the World Bank – Africa Region in Washington, D.C., between 2007 and 2012 and worked as Director of the Harvard-Nigeria Economic Strategy Project with the Center for International Development at the Kennedy School of Government in India. Harvard University.
Recognized as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”, Ezekwesili was also listed by The New York Times as one of the “25 Women of Impact” in 2015. She is one of the 100 Visionaries featured by the Albert Einstein Foundations in the 3D-printed book “Genius: 100 Visions of the Future.” The Oslo Peace Research Institute listed her as a potential candidate for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. She was decorated with the national award of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic by her country.
Ezekwesili was a Richard von Weizsäcker Scholar at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin between 2019 and 2020. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University.
The Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Human Development and Solidarity recognizes substantial contributions to human development through research, practice, public service or philanthropy. Recipients are honored for their solidarity with those who need it most. The award is named in honor of Distinguished University Trustee Doug Ford ’66 and his wife, Kathy, whose generosity helped establish the Ford Program.
Past winners are Rose Busingye, the founder of Meeting Point International; Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pioneer of social entrepreneurship Muhammad Yunous; Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Archbishop of Manila; Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J.Mohammed; The Ark; social entrepreneur Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO and Founder of Acumen; development economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen; Health Partners, whose co-founders Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl accepted the award on his behalf; and Patti and Ray ChambersUnited Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria.
Ford’s Human Development and Solidarity Studies program, part of the Kellogg Institute for International Studiespromotes the interdisciplinary study of international human development with an innovative blend of research, teaching, and community engagement and a focus on integral human development, which considers the flourishing of the human person as a whole.