EurAfrican 2023

Vivian Onano

Founder/Director Leading Light Initiative

Vivian Onano is an award-winning social entrepreneur and the Founder & Director of Leading Light Initiative. Known for her humanitarian work, she has also been recognized as an emerging woman leader with the courage to lead change on the African continent.

With a strong commitment to Education, Women’s Economic Empowerment, and
Leadership, she continues to play a leading role in redefining Africa’s growth and
development through the direct engagement and inclusion of women and youth.

Vivian is a graduate of Carthage College (USA) and holds a Master of Public Affairs from Sciences Po, Paris (France).

Vivian continues to serve as a strategic advisor to government leaders, philanthropists, and the private sector. She is a faculty at DUKE Corporate Education, a board director of Nutrition International, a board director of Flying Kites, a Concordia Africa advisor, and a member of the African Women Leadership Network (AWLN). She has previously served as a youth advisor to the Global Education Monitoring Report – UNESCO, a member of the World Humanitarian Forum Youth Council, a Youth Advisor to the UN Women Global
Civil Society Advisory Group, a Vice-Chairperson of the Global Youth Empowerment Fund, and a member of Africa Shared Value Leadership Council as well as a Women Deliver board member.

In 2022 she was honored as one of the global 100 Most Influential People of African Descent under 40. In 2016 New African Woman Magazine featured her as one of the “30 under 30: Faces Changing Africa Now” and Forbes Woman Africa profiled her as “One to Watch”. Vivian is a recipient of the 2017 New African Woman on the Rise Award and the 2016 MTV “Africa Re-Imagined” Youth Award. In 2015 she was honored with Mrs. Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” Award by MORE Magazine for her advocacy work on
girls’ education.

Vivian is a respected speaker who often speaks on global education, gender equality, youth empowerment, and international development. She has had prominent speaking engagements at the United Nations General Assembly, Dubai Cares Annual Summit, Afreximbank Annual Forum, Africa Business Forum, Forbes Woman Africa Regional Forum, World Innovation Summit for Education, Concordia Summit, EurAfrican Forum,
and the Clinton Global Initiative, among others. She has written and published
numerous articles on various development issues with prominent media houses globally.