M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Nkiru Balonwu

Tuesday, February 21,  4:15-5:45, Allison Dining Room (Taubman 5th Floor)

​What does it mean to be an African woman in 2023? Insta might tell us one thing, the DEI report of a Fortune 500 company another. The global public discourse on black female skin has evolved for the better in recent years. But looking at life from the other side of the lens, what do we actually see? Are realities on the ground keeping pace with the lyrics in songs?

M-RCBG Senior Fellow Nkiru Balonwu will be joined by guest speaker Tsitsi Dangaremgba,  Zimbabwean novelist, playwright, cultural activist and filmmaker .

This study group / discussion is open to all. Registration is not necessary.

M-RCBG welcomes individuals with disabilities to participate in its programs. To request accommodations or ask questions about access provided, please email: mrcbg@hks.harvard.edu

Nkiru Balonwu head shot smiling, pink top

Nkiru Balonwu is Founder of The Africa Soft Power Group, which includes the Africa Soft Power Project (ASP), ASP Global, and African Women on Board (AWB). She founded the group having recognised the need to incorporate vital - and all too often still unseen - African perspectives into the global conversation; an important mission not only for Africa itself, but the global economy at large, particularly at a time when a host of intersectional issues threaten future (and present) growth. Over the past years, these organisations have worked tirelessly to put modern African discourse on the world map, creating and convening Africa’s highest level gathering of the continent’s creative and cultural industries, advancing new and bold narratives about African women’s leadership and taking African soft power to important global events, including the UN General Assembly, Davos and US-Africa Leaders Summit. Nkiru consults with some of the world’s leading organisations on designing an effective Africa strategy. Prior to her work with ASP Group, Nkiru was CEO for Spinlet, which at the time was Africa’s largest music streaming app with 2m+ subscribers, and has also served as the inaugural Lecturer of Gender & Law at the University of Lagos. She holds a Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley; Masters from University College London; a Law Degree from the University of Manchester, and has been called to the bar in England, Nigeria and New York. In 2019, her work as an innovator and change-maker saw her receive the 2020 Powerlist International Award and in 2022, she was named amongst New African magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Africans. Nkiru is currently a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School, where she is focused on the role of the private sector in influencing and constructing gender policy. Her faculty sponsor is Iris Bohnet, Co-Director, Women and Public Policy Program and Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government. Email: nbalonwu@hks.harvard.edu