Nobel Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee To Keynote MAYDAY! Conference

The 38th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference, "Mighty Be Our Powers: Gender, Justice, and Peacebuilding," takes place on Wednesday, May 2.
Posted on April 30th, 2018 by

Gustavus Adolphus College’s 38th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference will be held on Wednesday, May 2 in Christ Chapel and Alumni Hall. The event, which begins at 10 a.m. in Christ Chapel, is free and open to the public and will be streamed live online. This year’s conference will focus on gender, justice, and peacebuilding, with Nobel Prize winner Leymah Gbowee as the keynote speaker.

Nobel Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee

Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker, and women’s rights advocate. She is the founder and current President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa and is a distinguished activist in residence at Union Theological Seminary. Her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers,  and the award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell depict her work with the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. In 2011, the Nobel Committee recognized Gbowee as a Nobel Prize Laureate.

“I admire Gbowee not only for her courage, peace-building work, and advocacy for women’s and children’s rights but also for her leadership in promoting inter-religious understanding and cooperation,” Gustavus Professor of Religion and Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies Marcia Bunge said. “She frequently testifies that her own Christian faith grounds her, gives her hope, and empowers her to respect the worth and dignity of all people and to seek peace and justice with people of all faiths.”

When asked about what influenced her to want to work diligently or peace, Gbowee explains that her faith background and community played a huge role. “I knew deep down inside there was always a sadness for anyone who was suffering from injustice. The semblance of community I had experienced as a child was destroyed as a result of the war, but because the seed of social justice was planted at a young age, I knew I had to be the force of change. I would be a disappointment to myself, my community, my faith, if I didn’t find the adrenaline to get up everyday and do something for peace,” she said.

Conference Schedule:

10 a.m. | Welcoming Ceremony & Keynote Address; Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee (Christ Chapel)

11:45 a.m. | Lunch Break

1:15 p.m. | Pray the Devil Back to Hill film screening (Alumni Hall)

2:30 p.m. | Moderated Discussion (Alumni Hall)

3:30 p.m. | Closing (Alumni Hall)

All sessions are open to the public and free to attend, although tickets are required for the morning keynote if you do not have a Gustavus ID. The morning lecture will also be streamed live and archived online.

The Annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference was founded at Gustavus in 1981 by the late Florence and Raymond Sponberg of North Mankato and is designed to educate the community about issues related to peace, human rights and social justice. The conference occurs every year on the last Wednesday in April or the first Wednesday in May. Previous conference themes have focused on land rights, violence in community, hunger, the banning of landmines, food security, global water issues, and political policies relating to peace issues.

For questions or more information about this year’s conference, visit the MAYDAY! website or contact the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Magda Pietka says:

    Dear Mrs Gbowee,
    I love your message about spreading kindness one person at a time. It makes a huge difference.
    Thank you.