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Peace activist to speak of transformation

Leymah Gbowee ELCANobel Peace Prize winner and ELCA International Leaders scholarship recipient Leymah Gbowee will be a keynote speaker at the Tenth Triennial Gathering (2017) in Minneapolis next summer, July 13-16.

A peace activist and Lutheran from Liberia, Africa, Gbowee is known for assembling thousands of women who prayed in the streets of Liberia, eventually putting an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. She now works with the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa and Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace.

“The extraordinary transformation in Leymah Gbowee's life which shaped her into a world leader began in a circle of Lutheran sisters, gathered together in prayer,” said Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director of Women of the ELCA.

“We each hold that same possibility—that supported in prayer and gathered in community, we might bring change to our world.”

Lutheran women first learned of Gbowee (pronounced LAY-mah BO-ee) and Liberian women’s peace efforts in the January/February 2004 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine in an article “Lutheran Liberian Women Unify for Peace.”

One year later, in the January/February 2005 issue of the magazine, Gbowee told her own story in an article, “Persistence and Peace.”

In it she wrote, “We had been pushed as women to our physical, psychological, and spiritual limits. We had been pushed to the wall, and we had two options. We could either fight back, or we could give up. For us, giving up was not an option. We would fight back.”

She was recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for leading women in a non-violent struggle to bring peace in Liberia.

Gbowee will offer participants of the Tenth Triennial Gathering a message of transformation “as we gather under the banner All Anew,” Bushkofsky said. “It's a privilege and honor to welcome Leymah back among the women of Women of the ELCA.” Gbowee was a featured speaker at the Eighth Triennial Gathering (2011) of Women of the ELCA in Spokane, Wash.

All photos of Leymah Gbowee by ELCA