AboutLeymah Gbowee first experienced the reality of war as a 17-year-old growing up in Monrovia, Liberia. She trained as a trauma counselor to treat ex-child soldiers who fought in Liberian President Charles Taylors army during the First Civil War. Gbowee is a founding member and former coordinator of the Women in Peacebuilding Program/West African Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). During her tenure as coordinator for WIPNET/WANEP, she formed a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who organized to end the Second Liberian Civil War. Together, they carried out a sex strike in which Liberian women refused to have relations with men during the war. As a result of the strike, Charles Taylor agreed to meet Gbowee, and promised to attend peace talks in Ghana. The women banded together at the site of the peace talks and refused to leave until an agreement was reached. Their determination resulted in Charles Taylors subsequent exile and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is Africa's first female head of state.
At present, Gbowee is the executive director of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa, an organization dedicated to promoting womens participation and leadership across Africa. She is also a member of African Feminist Forum, and the African Womens Leadership Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights. Gbowee has served as the commissioner-designate for the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is the focus of the award-winning documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. In 2009, Ms. Gbowee and the women of Liberia were awarded the Profiles in Courage Award by the Kennedy Library Foundation. In 2011, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.