Megan Smith

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Women@Google: Leymah Gbowee in conversation with Megan Smith

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About this Video

from Talks at Google

Leymah Gbowee was only 17 when the Second Liberian Civil War erupted. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and her hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, realizing that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. Working as a social worker and trauma counselor during the war, she organized the Women of Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a multicultural and multi-religious group who prayed for peace, held nonviolent protests including a sex strike, and brought forth a promise from President Charles Taylor to attend peace talks in Ghana. This group was crucial in bringing an end to the civil war in 2003 followed by the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, the first African nation with a female president. Leymah is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa, an organization dedicated to training women and advocating peace and security in African governance. http://www.wipsen-africa.org/wipsen/ The author of Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War, Leymah is also the central figure in "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," an award-winning documentary about the visionary women who demanded peace in Liberia. She holds a Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation from the Eastern Mennonite University and is a mother of five and just this week, Leymah was awarded Nobel Peace Prize along with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakul Karman of Yemen. Leymah Gbowee was introduced by Gayathri Rajan Engineering Product Management Director at Google. Megan Smith is VP, New Business Development at Google