Executive Director, World Food Programme, United Nations
Ertharin Cousin is responsible for bringing food to more than 100 million people around the world every year as head of the U.N.’s World Food Programme. Her goal is nothing short of eradicating global hunger in our lifetimes, creating a world where no child or adult knows the feeling of an empty stomach.
As the leader of the world’s largest humanitarian organization with approximately 13,500 staff serving more than 90 million beneficiaries in 80 countries across the world, she works to improve the lives of hungry people worldwide, and travels extensively to raise awareness of food insecurity and chronic malnutrition
As a young girl growing up in a lower-income neighborhood in Chicago, Ertharin Cousin understood from an early age the importance of a family’s ability to put food on the table. That innate conscience and connection with the plight of others continues to fuel her sense of mission.
Copy taken from Time Magazine and UN website.
Who are these women you may ask?
These are just four of the prime ministers from the Caribbean and Africa. We are proud to have such women leading these countries and paving the way for future women leaders around the world.
From top to bottom we have:
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller
Senegalese Prime Minister Aminata Touré
Central African republic President Catherine Samba-Panza
Trinidad’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
How can you be a leader today?
George the Poet is a British spoken word poetic artist with an interest in social and political issues.
Born to Ugandan parents in NW London he went on to study politics, psychology and sociology at Cambridge University, where he decided to adapt his rap output into poetry to communicate more effectively with his audience.
Mpanga said, “I think rappers are primarily expected to make money for the industry and provide party soundtracks, but obviously there are exceptions and grey areas. The poet’s ‘role’ is usually to provide thoughtful social commentary”.
During his studies, Mpanga won a social enterprise competition, which asked entrants how they would spend £1,000. He used his £16,000 prize to fund The Jubilee Line, a series of secondary school poetry workshops for underprivileged children in London.
He performed at this year’s Brit awards after being nominated for several awards. He is currently touring the UK.
Here is his poem for black history month called ‘Pro Black’.
And another about Nelson Mandela:
Some others you might like are:
‘There are no choices without chances’- https://youtu.be/rOX1ETA0eUo
I have used this one to get students to think about where their lives are going.
‘Estate of mind’, a poem about having aspirations https://youtu.be/E2ops6bHlw8
‘Go home’, a poem about immigration in the UK. https://youtu.be/iWX48dHQgXo
Last night Jamaican Marlon James won the prestigious Man Booker prize for his book ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’.
The book was inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s. Find out more about the story here https://youtu.be/CDPf2dPzqdQ. Michael Wood, chair of the judges, described A Brief History of Seven Killings as the “most exciting” book on the shortlist.
The 680-page epic was “full of surprises” as well as being “very violent” and “full of swearing”.
James was announced the £50,000 winner on Tuesday night at London’s Guildhall.
He is the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker Prize. Receiving the award, he said a huge part of the novel had been inspired by reggae music.
(copy taken from BBC website.)
Here is a Bob song to finish this post- ‘Iron, Lion, Zion’ https://youtu.be/CDPf2dPzqdQ.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist that lives in London. She has designed a host of space instruments, and presented the tv programme the Sky at Night.
Born in London to Nigerian parents in the late sixties, she moved between 13 schools during her childhood, struggling to show her potential in the face of what she later recognised as dyslexia. It was her dream of space travel that provided the motivation in those difficult years.
After graduating with a BSc in physics, and later a PhD in mechanical engineering, from Imperial College London, she worked for the Ministry of Defence on projects ranging from missile warning systems to landmine detectors, before returning to her first love: building instruments to explore the wonders of space. “The telescope is just mind boggling,” she says of the Gemini instruments, her voice abuzz with her trademark fervour. “I like to call it a cathedral to science because sometimes I go out to Guildford Cathedral and [it has] this big vaulted ceiling. It is large and echoey, and the telescope is just the same.”
Dr Aderin-Pocock is passionate about more girls becoming scientists:
“There aren’t enough people going into science, especially girls,” says Aderin-Pocock. “The structure of the UK is changing. We used to be a manufacturing society, but most manufacturing can be done elsewhere and more cheaply. We’ve become a knowledge economy but to have that, we need to have people coming through with ideas. It’s a matter of getting science out there and showing the difference we can make in people’s lives.”
You can learn more about her here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo5hVIhSL4o
Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
In 1976, while she was serving in the National Council of Women, Professor Maathai introduced the idea of community-based tree planting. She had noticed the affect of climate change and deforestation on the land of Kenya and decided to tackle this problem directly. By getting communities to plant trees this would counter the negative affects of climate change. She continued to develop this idea into a broad-based grassroots organisation, the Green Belt Movement (GBM), whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting.
You can learn more about her work here
Dr Maathai’s pioneering work was formally recognised when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
Professor Maathai was internationally acknowledged for her struggle for democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation, and served on the board of many organisations. She addressed the UN on a number of occasions and spoke on behalf of women at special sessions of the General Assembly during the five-year review of the Earth Summit.
“It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in.”
– Wangari Maathai
Yinka Shonibare, MBE, (born 1962) is a British-Nigerian artist living in London. His work explores cultural identity and colonialism. A hallmark of his art is the brightly coloured fabric he uses. Having a physical disability that paralyses one side of his body, Shonibare uses assistants to make works under his direction.
One of his most famous works was on a plinth in trafalgar square, entitled “Nelson’s ship in a bottle”. Learn more about it here https://youtu.be/voEgrnPqKxo