Hafsat Abiola – Nigeria

Linked with Kudirat Initiative for Democracy KIND. Hafsat Abiola is a young activist who works to promote women, youth, and democracy in Nigeria, her home country, and around the world. She is a founding member of several initiatives including Global Youth Connect, Youth Employment Campaign, and Vital Voices: Women in Democracy. She is a member of the World Wisdom Council and the World Future Council. Hafsat is the author of many articles published in international and national media, and assistant editor of Imagining Ourselves, an international anthology of women, that will be published in 2006.

She says: “I don’t know where the idea came from, but immediately after hearing of my mum’s assassination on the 4th of June, I knew I would set up an organization that would honor her and promote her commitment to restoring democracy in Nigeria. But what exactly would the organization do? I had no idea. My mum’s work suggested an answer. Her joy during her involvement with the pro-democracy movement had come from working with women and youth, especially market women and students. In a political terrain where leaders often demonstrated extreme opportunism, she was inspired by the integrity and commitment of these two groups and had felt that political, social and economic transformation in Nigeria was not possible without their participation. So in the summer and fall that followed, I gathered close friends together in several small meetings to think through what memorializing my mother’s commitment to democracy could look like … “, (full text , click on about and scroll down).

Hafsat Abiola - Nigeria.jpg
Hafsat Abiola – Nigeria

Hafsat is the Executive Director of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, KIND, an NGO that seeks to empower democracy and development in Nigeria by strengthening organizations and creating initiatives that advance women. KIND’s main programme is Kudra, a programme that offers leadership training to 750 young women across Nigeria each year.

In recognition of her work, Hafsat was selected as a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 2001 and as an Ashoka Fellow in 2003, and received awards from the State of the World Forum, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and the National Association of Nigerian Students. She sits on several boards including Educate Girls Globally, Women’s Learning Partnership, Youth Employment Campaign, and Institute of Noetic Sciences. Hafsat graduated from Harvard College in 1996 and received an honorary doctorate degree from Haverford College in 2003. (full text).

Bio of her mother, Kudirat Abiola (1952 – 1996), wife of the late President-elect of Nigeria, Chief Moshood Abiola.

Go to: Women’s Learning Partnership WLP for Rights, Development and Peace.
Go to World Future Council.
Go to Ashoka Fellow.
Go to: Heroes for a Culture of Peace.

HAFSAT ABIOLA, Doctor of Public Letters, Citation (delivered by Ashok Gangadean, Professor of Philosophy): It seems for every generation, beautiful spirits appear amongst us, whose courage, compassion, selfless service to humanity, and joy of life inspires us all and reminds us who we truly are, and of the heights we are all capable of reaching against the greatest odds. Hafsat Abiola is a 28-year-old human rights and democracy activist from Lagos, Nigeria. Her work for the rights of women and children in Nigeria and in other African countries has elicited recognition and praise throughout the world. (full long text).


Youth Peace and Justice Award of the Cambridge Peace Commission, 1997
State of the World Forum Changemaker Award, 1998
Woman to Watch for Award, 1999
Global Leader of Tomorrow Award, 2000
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Global Award, 2001


The Jesuit University in Silicon Valley;

Nigeria’s Orphan;



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