AAUW Honors World Trade Organization Director-General

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Receives Prestigious Alumnae Award

American Association of University Women is proud to announce that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ph.D., the Director-General of the World Trade Organization and former Finance Minister of Nigeria, is the recipient of the 2021 AAUW Alumnae Recognition Award. The award honors recipients of AAUW’s fellowships who have attained outstanding success and distinction in their profession.

“Dr. Okonjo-Iweala epitomizes the promise of leadership that AAUW strives to identify early in a woman’s career,” said AAUW CEO Gloria L. Blackwell. “We are proud – and honored – that we were able to support her as she was getting started on her journey to the top.”

Watch Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s Conversation with AAUW CEO

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, who received her Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University, won an AAUW International Fellowship in 1977 while earning her Ph.D. in regional economics and development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She credits the fellowship for enabling her to complete her doctorate without financial worry, and for setting her on a path to global success.

“This fellowship helped me to get into the field that I wanted – the field of regional economics and development economics,” Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said. Learning that she had won the fellowship “was one of happiest days and moments of my life.”

Dr. Ojonko-Iweala is a renowned and highly influential economist, fair trade leader and global development expert. She worked for 25 years for the World Bank as a development economist, and rose to the number two position of Managing Director, Operations. She served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and was also the Foreign Minister in 2006, becoming the first woman to hold both positions. She has received numerous honors and recognitions for her contributions, including being named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2021 by Time Magazine.

“I already feel like I owe [AAUW] so much, so to get a double recognition is just amazing,” Dr. Ojonko-Iweala said upon receiving the award.

AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education: Over the past 130 years, it has provided more than $125 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to 13,000 women from 150 countries. The AAUW International Fellowship is one of seven awards presented every year.  International Fellows are selected for their academic achievement, scholarly promise and demonstrated commitment to women and girls. Thousands of AAUW International Fellows have returned to their home countries to become leaders in government, academia, community activism, business and science.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members. Learn more and join us at www.aauw.org