Institute of Current World Affairs awards 2016 Fellowship to Onyinye Edeh for work on Girls’ Empowerment in Nigeria

Happy Easter

Washington – The Institute of Current World Affairs proudly announces the winner of the 2016 ICWA Fellowship, Onyinye Edeh of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Ms. Edeh’s two-year ICWA Fellowship will be in Nigeria and Niger where she will focus on the urgent issues of girls’ health, early marriage, and girls’ education and empowerment.

“ICWA is thrilled with the selection of Onyinye Edeh as our latest ICWA Fellow.  She embodies all the traits that exceptional ICWA Fellows have demonstrated over the past 90-plus years, most notably a burning passion to apply her considerable skills and interests towards a compelling issue,” said ICWA Executive Director Edward P. Joseph.  “Nigeria and Niger are clearly front-line countries when it comes to addressing health concerns of girls.”

Putting her Fellowship project in perspective, Ms. Edeh noted that, “Niger is presently ranked as the country with the highest percentage of child brides in the world with 76% of girls married before age 18. Nigeria holds the number 14 position with 43% of girls married before age 18.”

“As a trained global health practitioner and advocate for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, I understand the power in a girl’s voice and the dangers associated with silencing that voice.  During my ICWA Fellowship I intend to work with young people and their communities to understand the factors that propel child marriage and hinder girls’ education.  My aim is to identify culturally-sensitiveways to address these critical problems,” Ms. Edeh stated.

Born in Nigeria, Ms Edeh came to the United States as a teenager. She earned her Masters degree in Public Health at the University of Washington, and her Bachelors degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Agnes Scott College.  She is recipient of a prestigious Gates MillenniumScholarship, recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative as a ‘Commitment Maker’, and recipient of a Global Opportunities Health Fellowship.

As inspiration, Ms. Edeh cites the Canadian philosopher, Jean Vanier, who said, “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”

Ms Edeh is the most recent in a long line of distinguished ICWA Fellows to focus on Africa. They include Edwin S. Munger, former professor of geography at the California Institute of Technology,and a renowned Africa specialist with an interest in race and ethnic relations.

The Institute of Current World Affairs is a non-profit foundation that has, for over 90 years, identified, mentored and advanced the careers of highly promising young professionals.  The ICWA Fellowship is a two-year immersive experience, in which Fellows enjoy great freedom to explore countries, regions or issues.  Fellows typically emerge transformed and go on to become leaders in their fields. For further information, please email us at