Graça Machel is an African stateswoman whose decades long professional and public life is rooted in Mozambique’s struggle for self-rule and international advocacy for women and children’s rights. . She founded the Graça Machel Trust in 2010 where she focuses on advocating for women’s economic and financial empowerment, food security and nutrition, education for all, as well as good governance.
She is a former freedom fighter in Mozambique’s FRELIMO movement and that country’s first Minister of Education. In the years following her tenure in government, Ms. Machel produced a ground-breaking UNICEF report “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children” that changed the way the United Nations and member states responded in conflict zones. Since then, she has worked tirelessly in support of global health, child welfare, and women’s rights and empowerment.
Ms. Machel works through several regional and international development bodies to accelerate social transformation. Ms. Machel is a founding member and Deputy Chair of The Elders, a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group, Board Chair of the Africa Child Policy Forum, Board Chair of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, Board Chair of United People Global as well as Executive Chair of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies. Ms. Machel is a Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Kofi Annan Foundation, and Education Above All. Additionally, she is also the Chancellor of the African Leadership University and the President of SOAS.
She has received the United Nations’ Nansen Refugee Award in recognition of her long-standing humanitarian work. In 1997, she was made an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.