MAYDAY! Conference

Mighty Be Our Powers: Gender, Justice, and Peacebuilding
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee shares stories of the power of sisterhood, crossing borders, and prayer to find common ground, to empower girls and women, and to build peace.

She brought her inspiring story of working to end the civil war in Liberia and the role women serve in creating peace around the world. 

Watch the archive of her remarks online.


Time Event
10 a.m.

Welcoming Ceremony & Keynote Addresses

Leymah Gbowee

Leymah Gbowee


Christ Chapel

Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker, and women’s rights advocate. Her leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace – which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 was recognized when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

Her work with the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace is chronicled in her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, and in the award-winning documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. She has appeared on numerous television programs including CNN and BBC.

Ms. Gbowee is founder and current President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa and is a distinguished activist in residence at Union Theological Seminary. She serves as a member of the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development as well as on the board of directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation, Federation of Liberian Youth, and the PeaceJam Foundation. In addition, she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning and an Oxfam Global Ambassador.

She was the founding head of the Liberian Reconciliation Initiative, and was the co-Founder and former Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberia Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP).

She holds a M.A. in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia.

Watch the archive of the address.

11:45 a.m. 

Meet and Greet Lunch with Leymah Gbowee

Mikka McCracken

Mikka McCracken

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library-Gustavus Library Associates
Jackson Campus Center Banquet Rooms

Featuring remarks by Mikka McCracken '09
ELCA World Hunger, Director of Planning and Engagement
Me and You, Too: Women's Stories in Peace Building

1:15 to 2:30 p.m.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell - movie screening

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a documentary film telling the story of Leymah Gbowee and the work to end the civil war in Liberia.

Cec Eckhoff Alumni Hall, Johnson Student Union
Free and open to the public. No ticket required.

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Afternoon Discussion

Gustavus faculty will facilitate a discussion of the morning lecture as well as Leymah Gbowee's memoir Mighty Be Our Powers and the movie Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

Cec Eckhoff Alumni Hall, Johnson Student Union
Free and open to the public. No ticket required.

For more information, contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at Gustavus (call 507-933-7520 or e-mail

The annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference was established at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1981 with funding by the late Florence and Raymond Sponberg. It was established to inspire attendees to work for justice and peace throughout the world.