• Monday, April 22, 2024
businessday logo


Two Nigerians join Sirleaf as Forbes women summit speakers

Forbes Women Summit

Two Nigerians have been confirmed to speak at the Forbes 30/50 women’s summit in the United Arab Emirates this month.

Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, a physician and founder of Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), will be a speaker at the event, alongside Drea Okeke, a Nigerian American entertainer and show host.

Among the 44 speakers headlining the event is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She is also the founder of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, for the advancement of women in public life across Africa

The 3-day event, which is to run from Tuesday, March 5 to Friday, March 8, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, convenes women leaders listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 and the Forbes 50 Under 50, and entrepreneurs from over 300 companies to explore collaborations and drive social change on International Women’s Day with a focus on mentoring.

“Everyone from these communities, along with other world leaders from policy, business and NGOs–will be asked to share, and forge new bonds, to work together to make participants smarter about technology, about leadership, about everything that it takes to lead. And to create relationships that will last a lifetime,” Forbes wrote about the event on its website.

DaSilva-Ibru who is one of the only two Nigerian speakers at the event, was featured on the 2024 Forbes 50 over 50 Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) list for her contribution to the field of gender and women’s health. Through her work with WARIF, she advocates for women’s rights, tackling gender-based violence, rape and the trafficking of young girls and women across Nigeria.

WARIF adopts a survivor-centered approach to assist women and girls affected by violence. It also launches preventative measures to address the root causes of gender-based violence. DaSilva-Ibru is currently pursuing a PhD in gender-based violence at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Okeke, a Nigerian-American creator, gained popularity in the entertainment industry and has amassed over seven million followers on social media. She has also been featured in mainstream media, making appearances on ABC News, Billboard, BuzzFeed, E! News, Forbes, GQ, teenVOGUE, and Variety.
She was included on the Forbes Top Creators of 2023 list and the 2024 Forbes 30 Under 30 North America for her work and influence.

Okeke who expressed her appreciation for being one of the speakers at the summit said,

“I’m excited to share that I’m elevating…to new heights by attending the Forbes 2024 Forbes 30/50 Summit Women’s Conference in Abu Dhabi, as a speaker and mentor.

“A huge thank you to Forbes for this unbelievable honor and to my team for their faith and constant support, For us Africans who dare to go the untraditional career route-
Our creativity and talents are monetizable and worthy of global recognition! Here’s to showing the world what we’re made of,” wrote Okeke in her Instagram celebratory post.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, women from over 30 countries, across 300 companies including Bank of America, McKinsey & Company, Spotify, Volkswagen Group and others would connect at Forbes 30/50 Summit in hopes of discussing and resolving current issues concerning women and build lasting relationships.