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News

Vivian Onano ‘14 to deliver Carthage Commencement address

  • Vivian Onano '14
    www.xaviersaerphotography.com
May 15, 2017

Carthage alumna Vivian Adhiambo Onano ’14, a global youth leader and advocate for women and girls, will step in to deliver the 2017 Commencement address.

With a deep interest in redefining Africa’s growth and development, Ms. Onano has continued to build on the expansive advocacy work she began while attending Carthage. A respected speaker, she has given presentations at the United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Three impactful years after her own graduation, Ms. Onano will return to campus to address the Class of 2017 on Sunday, May 21. Diversity scholar Terrell L. Strayhorn, who initially agreed to speak at the ceremony, withdrew for personal reasons.

Born and raised in rural Kenya, Ms. Onano now lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She balances roles in several service and civic organizations:

  • Partnerships manager at SEED Project, which uses education and basketball to develop future African leaders
  • Global youth ambassador for Water Aid, which aims to improve access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Youth advisor to the Civil Society Advisory Group for UN Women, an arm of the United Nations
  • Young Leader and board member at Women Deliver, which advocates for female health and rights
  • Vice chair of the board at the Global Youth Empowerment Fund

That relentless work has brought Ms. Onano plenty of recognition. A Moremi fellow, she is recognized as one the top 25 emerging women leaders with the courage to lead change on the African continent.

Most recently, she received the New African Woman on the Rise Award in April and an Africa Reimagined Award at the MTV Africa Music Awards in October. Carthage presented her a Beacon Award in 2016.

Ms. Onano is a frequent speaker on topics such as global education, the search for purpose, gender equality, youth entrepreneurship, and international development. As a blogger for The Huffington Post, she communicates holistic and innovative solutions to community problems.

Commencement is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, May 21, in the N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center Field House. A live stream will be available at live.carthage.edu for those who cannot attend.

Ms. Onano can be reached via Twitter at @vivianonano.