Prize Committee Biography
Dr Graça Machel
Dr Graça Machel is the Founder of the Graça Machel Trust, an organisation focused on child health and nutrition, education, women’s economic and financial empowerment, leadership and good governance. She is a leading social and political activist, and a renowned international advocate for women’s and children’s rights.
Dr Machel served as Education Minister in Mozambique until 1989, where her accomplishments included dramatically increasing primary school enrolment and lowering illiteracy by 20%. Following this, she founded the Foundation for Community Development in 1994, an NGO that promotes partnering for development, democracy and social justice. In 1997, Dr Machel chaired a UN Report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, establishing a comprehensive agenda to protect children in conflict zones.
Dr Machel currently sits on the board of The Elders. She is also Board Chair of the Africa Child Policy Forum and Board Chair of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes.
Dr Machel is a recipient of the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger from the Hunger Project. She was awarded the Nansen Medal for services to child refugees, and the WHO Gold Medal, for contributions to the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents.