Musimbi Kanyoro

Musimbi Kanyoro

Musimbi Kanyoro is the Director of the Population Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Packard Foundation). She comes to the Packard Foundation from her post as General Secretary of the World YWCA, a global movement of 25 million women and girls in 122 countries.


Over the last 25 years, Dr. Kanyoro has provided global leadership aimed at building the capacity of women and their organizations, and has experienced how the empowerment of women and girls improves whole communities. At the Packard Foundation she joins a group committed to tackling major challenges in promoting a sustainable global population. The Foundation’s commitment to women’s reproductive health and rights around the world and in the United States gives Dr. Kanyoro an opportunity to link grant making with the reality of program and project implementation as well as capacity building, advocacy and leadership interventions.

The Packard Foundation Population Program is dedicated to reproductive health and to the integration of those services with critical global health issues like HIV/AIDS as well as with support services such as education, micro-credit and other skill-building opportunities for women and girls. Dr. Kanyoro now guides these efforts, which reinforce her commitment to women and girls and to the fight against HIV/AIDS, a pressing reproductive health issue.

Dr. Kanyoro is passionate about empowering young women and her portfolio as director of the Population Program will keep her engaged in this arena. A majority of women who need family planning services or access to safe and legal abortion are within their childbearing years, meaning many of them are young. Dr. Kanyoro and the Population Program she oversees understand that to create a systemic change, civil society must foster women leaders and provide fora for them to keep reproductive health on the development agenda.

Since 1977 she has been married to Mr. Muhungi Kanyoro, and they have a son and a daughter.

Volunteer Leadership

Dr. Kanyoro currently provides volunteer leadership for a number of non-government organizations. She is the President of the World Association for Christian Communication and a member of the Board of Directors of the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) and of Realizing Rights, the Ethical Globalization Initiative. Dr. Kanyoro is also a member of the Global Women’s Action Network for Children and the Mandela Thinkers Forum. She previously served as president of Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange and she is a former board member of the Business Women's Initiative (BWI).

She is a founding member of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, the alliance of international youth organizations working to empower youth against HIV and AIDS and the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians. Dr Kanyoro has also participated in a high level think tank to map "Scenarios for the Future" of AIDS in Africa, and served as an advisor in the Youth and HIV/AIDS study of the Guttmacher Institute and the Gender, Faith and HIV/AIDS Initiative of Yale Divinity School.


Public Appearances

Musimbi Kanyoro appears regularly at various international forums. She was a speaker at the Wachovia’s Leadership Program, Conference for Women in Charlotte North Carolina where the Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf gave the key note address.

Dr. Kanyoro Signed together with UNICEF ED the Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF, committing the World YWCA and UNICEF to working together on country programs to improve the lives of women and girls.

She recently spoke to the United National General Assembly and was a plenary speaker at the International AIDS Conference and chaired the largest panel on women and AIDS.

The World YWCA

As Secretary General (CEO) of the world’s largest women’s membership-driven organization that implements programs for 25 million women in 125 countries, Dr. Kanyoro oversaw the World YWCA’s revival in regions such as Eastern Europe and China. She steered the organization’s policy to ensure 50% of the World YWCA’s international board is under the age of 30.

She led the YWCA’s involvement in the development and adoption of “NGO Charter of Accountability” with 10 other non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Kanyoro is credited with strengthening working relations among member associations as well as international relationships between the World YWCA and the United Nations, the World Bank, the private sector and other NGOs, leading to increased financial support.

Dr. Kanyoro helped to steer the YWCA’s international response in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which includes programs in more than 70 countries. The World YWCA was elected to serve on the Coordinating Committee for the preparation of the International AIDS conference to take place in Mexico in 2008.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF)

Between 1988 and 1998, as Head of the Department of Women in Church and Society, Dr. Kanyoro developed a plan of action for leadership development and advocacy of women for 166 member churches and the United Nations. She is credited with using diplomacy to develop programs to enhance the development of women, promoting women’s rights and women’s education. During her time at LWF, Dr. Kanyoro co-founded the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians. thanks


Doctor of Ministry, San Francisco Theological Seminary (1999)
Visiting Scholar, Hebrew, Greek and Exegesis, Harvard Divinity School (1981-1982)
Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA (1980)
MA, Linguistics, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA (1977)
BA, Linguistics, Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya (1975)

Honorary Degrees

2003 – Philippine Christian University, Manila, Doctorate of Humanities (Honoris Causa) in recognition of distinguished accomplishments as theologian, Church Leader, Civic Worker, Linguist and Author.
1999 – Trinity Lutheran Seminary, (TLS) USA, Doctorate of Divinity (DD honorary) for significant contribution to Christian Theology.

Awards and Recognition

2006 – Planet Africa, Toronto, Canada, Leadership Award in recognizing leadership, excellence and professionalism among people of African heritage.
2006 – Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, Women, Leadership and Human Dignity Award for significant contribution to advancement of human dignity.
2005 – Kenya Government, Presidential Award in recognition of international leadership
2005 – African Women’s Development Fund, Accra, Ghana, Women of Substance Award
2005 – World Vision and International AIDS Trust, USA, Global Leadership Award
2005 – Nominee 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005
2003 - Philippine Christian University, Manila, Doctor of Humanities (Honoris Causa) on recognition of distinguished accomplishments as theologian, Church Leader, Civic Worker, Linguistic and Author
2000 – Luther Institute, USA, The Wittenberg Award in recognition of her outstanding service to church and society.
1999 - Church Women United, (CWU) USA, Human Rights Award in recognition of commitment and dedication to global human rights of women.
1999 Trinity Lutheran Seminary, (TLS) USA, Doctor of Divinity (DD honorary) for significant contribution to Christian Theology
1997 - Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), Chicago, USA, Community Award in recognition of global service with Lutheran world Federation.
1978 - University of Texas, Austin, USA, Best Student Award, in Humanities.
1975 - Kenya chapter of the United Nations Student Movement, Youth Award.

See also

External links

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