Determined to uphold its mandate of increasing the number, influence and impact of women in political and leadership positions across the world, the Women Political Leaders (WPL) has appointed a former Vice President of the World Bank, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, to chair its board.
She replaces Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008), who had been Chair Emeritus of the WPL Board since December 2022.
Globally reputed as an advocate for democracy, transparency and good governance, Ezekwesili is co-founder of Transparency International (TI); founder and President of Human Capital Africa; founder and chair of the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG), and Senior Economic Advisor at The Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative.
The WPL, which includes Heads of State, Heads of Government, ministers, parliamentarians, local and regional politicians, is the first network established by thousands of women political leaders from over 130 countries. Members of its network work together, share ideas and support one another to change the world.
On the appointment, Ezekwesili said: “It is an honour to serve as Chair of the WPL Board. The WPL understands that women are powerful agents of change and that the far-reaching benefits of diversity and gender parity in leadership and decision-making are important. The organisation is paving the way for women to become leaders in their communities, societies and nations.”
Ezekwesili has been recognised as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and by the New York Times as one of the 25 Women of Impact, 2015. Albert Einstein’s Foundation named her one of the 100 visionaries featured in the 3D book, ‘Genius:100 Visions of the Future’.
She has received numerous awards and serves on the boards of various local and international organisations. In 2018, the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, listed her as a potential candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is a Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), a national merit award by the Nigerian government.
In January 2023, Ezekwesili was appointed as one of the three distinguished African experts to serve as ambassadors for the ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative, for their expertise and dedication towards addressing food insecurity.