Meaza Ashenafi

Member, Africa Prize Jury

Meaza Ashenafi currently serves as a Gender Advisor for the Economic Commission for Africa, a regional arm of the United Nations Economic and Social Council that promotes economic and social development, intraregional integration and international cooperation.

The only woman in 1986 to graduate from Addis Ababa University with an LLB degree, Ms. Ashenafi has championed women's rights in the areas of domestic violence, sexual abuse, the family, economic and land rights.

In 1995, she established the Ethiopian Women Lawyers' Association (EWLA), a women's legal aid, education and policy-reform organization. EWLA has led the charge for women's rights across the political spectrum and across the nation.

Ms. Ashenafi also worked as a high court judge in Ethiopia between 1989 and 1992. In 1993, she became a legal advisor to the Ethiopian Constitution Commission of the Interim Government, which drafted the country's first constitution after many years of civil war.

Ms. Ashenafi has also served as executive director of the InterAfrica Group (IAG). The IAG is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan regional organization dedicated to the advancement of humanitarian principles, peace and development across Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa via research, public education and advocacy.

In recognition of her contributions to Africa and her work at the EWLA, Ms. Ashenafi was awarded the 2003 Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger.