Bio

Elizabeth is the CEO & Co-founder of the Akilah Institute for Women, a college with campuses in Rwanda and Burundi that connects young women to economic opportunity.

Elizabeth moved to Rwanda a few days after graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2006. After volunteering with grassroots projects, she co-founded the nonprofit Amani Africa to provide scholarships to street children, support an orphanage in Kigali, and organize reconciliation and conflict resolution conferences for genocide survivors. In 2008, Elizabeth and her husband Dave Hughes began working with business and civil society leaders to analyze the training needs of the Rwandan private sector. They founded Akilah in Rwanda in 2010 to provide market-relevant education and career development to promising young female leaders. In 2013, Akilah made a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative in partnership with the Segal Family Foundation to scale the Akilah model by opening a second campus in Burundi.  Sadly the Burundi campus had to close due to the current conflict in the country.

Newsweek and The Daily Beast recognized Elizabeth as one of the 125 Women of Impact. Forbes recognized Elizabeth as one of the World’s Most Influential Female Social Entrepreneurs. Elizabeth received the Woman of Peace award from the Women’s Peace Power Foundation in October 2009. Akilah has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Marie Claire, GOOD Magazine, ABC News, Council on Foreign Relations, HuffPost Women, Hope Magazine, the Tampa Bay Times, and more.

Elizabeth and Dave live in Kigali, Rwanda with their daughter Lorraine.

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @edearbornh and @akilahinstitute.

Articles, Publications, Appearances