David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award Honorees
Each year, University for a Night participants honor people and/or organizations that exemplify what the evening stands for -- working together for the common good. The first such honoree was David Rockefeller, for whom this award is named. The 2011 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award honorees are:
- Her Excellency Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, President of the African Women’s Development Fund
- Jennifer and Peter Buffett, Co-Chairs of the NoVo Foundation.
Her Excellency Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, First Lady of Ekiti State, Nigeria, is a social change philanthropist, social entrepreneur, journalist, and organizational development specialist. She is the President and Co-Founder of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF - www.awdf.org), a grantmaking foundation which supports local, national and regional organizations working towards women’s empowerment. Since it began grantmaking in 2001, AWDF has provided over 800 women’s organizations in 42 African countries with over $16 million in support. AWDF plays a key role in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Africa through its support of grassroots initiatives, policy engagements, and movement building for social justice.
Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi was Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika, an international development organization for African women, from 1991-2001. She also established the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), a training and networking forum for young women. AWLI has trained over 5,000 women; today most hold senior decision-making positions as government ministers, MPs, academics, civil society leaders, and at international organizations.
She has worked in the Department of Health and Social Services of the United Kingdom and served as a resource person for agencies such as UNIFEM, UNDP, and the Economic Commission for Africa. She is also Honorary President of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development and a Synergos Senior Fellow.
In the fields of philanthropy and social investment, Bisi serves on the boards of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, the Resource Alliance, and of the Women’s Funding Network in the United States, from which she receieved the 2007 Changing the Face of Philanthropy Award. She is Co-Chair of the newly established African Grantmakers Network and an Adviser to the Global Fund for Women. She has been Co-Chair of the International Network of Women’s Funds, an Advisory Board member of Realizing Rights The Ethical Globalization Initiative, and a Trustee of Comic Relief UK.
An accomplished writer, Bisi is a Contributing Editor for The News magazine, Nigeria, received an Achievers Award from the 2006 African International Media Summit for promoting a positive image of Africa, and serves on the Editorial Board of Alliance Magazine.
Bisi holds graduate degrees from the University of Ife (Nigeria) and Middlesex University (United Kingdom). She held the Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitorship at the University of Toronto from 2000-2001, and received the honorary chieftaincy title of Ochiorah (“People’s Leader”) of Imezi Owa, Ezeagwu Local Government, Enugu State, Nigeria, in recognition of her support for women in that community.
In 2009, New Africa Magazine named Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi one of the 20 most influential African women, and this year Women Deliver listed her as one of the top 100 people advancing the cause of women and girls globally.
Jennifer and Peter Buffett co-founded and co-chair the NoVo Foundation (www.novofoundation.org), which works to create a more just and balanced world based on cooperation and partnership, primarily through the empowerment of girls and women.
NoVo whose name comes from the Latin word for change, alter, or invent works to achieve its vision by transforming social attitudes, relationships and institutions that perpetuate injustice. Its aim is to unlock the potential of girls and women to be powerful agents of change and help children grow into caring adults skilled at working cooperatively. The Foundation invests in long-term strategic initiatives that lead to systemic change, specifically ending violence against girls and women, unlocking the potential of adolescent girls, and advancing whole child education and social and emotional learning.
NoVo is a major philanthropic partner with the Nike Foundation, fueling “The Girl Effect” the social and economic change brought about when every girl has the power to participate equally in her community.
Jennifer Buffett’s work in philanthropy began in 1997 when her husband Peter’s parents, Susan and Warren Buffett, bequeathed Jennifer and Peter a small charitable fund. Today she is the NoVo Foundation’s President, overseeing its strategic direction. In addition, she provides leadership and serves on the boards of the Nike Foundation, V-Day, CASEL (Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning), BRAC USA, the International Center for Research on Women, Apne Aap Women Worldwide and Women Moving Millions.
Peter Buffett is an Emmy Award-winning musician, composer and producer as well as Co-Chair of the NoVo Foundation helping guide the strategic mission and serving on the Foundation’s Grants Committee. Peter also serves on the boards of the Nike Foundation, Apne Aap Women Worldwide, Susan T. Buffett Foundation, Radio for Milwaukee and the Kent Bellows Foundation.
Highlights of his composition work for film and television include the Fire Dance scene in the Oscar-winning film Dances with Wolves and the score for 500 Nations, a CBS miniseries produced by Kevin Costner. Mr. Buffett’s recently released book, Life Is What You Make It, debuted at #4 on the New York Times Best Seller Hardcover Advice list and is a companion to his live “Concert & Conversation” performances.
Jennifer and Peter are recipients of the Clinton Global Citizen Award for their “visionary leadership and sustainable, scalable work in solving pressing global challenges.” In 2010, Jennifer was selected by President Clinton to be a founding member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s young global leaders cohort, CGI LEAD.
The Ms. Foundation for Women honored the Buffetts’ philanthropic boldness and commitment with a 2010 Gloria Steinem Award, and Barron’s ranks them in the top 25 list of most effective philanthropists.
- Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Unite
- Zainab Salbi, Founder, Women for Women International.
- Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations and Founder and Chair, Kofi Annan Foundation
- Sheela Patel, Founder and Director, Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres, and Chair, Shack/Slum Dwellers International
- Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan
- Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson, BRAC
- Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa
- Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates and William H. Gates Sr., Co-Chairs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
- Ted Turner, Founder and Chairman, United Nations Foundation
- Corazon C. Aquino, Chairperson, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Foundation and former President of the Philippines
- James D. Wolfensohn, Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement and former President of the World Bank
- John C. Whitehead, Chairman of the Board, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
- Foundation for Community Development of Mozambique
- David Rockefeller
Positions listed are those held at time of event