Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes

Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes is the CEO and co-founder of the Akilah Institute, Rwanda’s only university for women. She has spent over a decade building education programs centered on five key pillars: personalized learning, 21st century skills, innovation, sustainability, and ethical leadership. Since opening in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2010, Akilah has graduated 550 alumnae and currently educates nearly 1,000 students. 88% of Akilah alumnae are employed within six months of graduating, and 90% of graduates are supporting at least one individual or family member financially.

Elizabeth has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of 125 Women of Impact, and was named one of the World’s Most Influential Female Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes. She was a Praxis Fellow, and the recipient of the Women’s Peacepower Foundation’s Women of Peace award. 

Elizabeth graduated from Vanderbilt University, and currently resides in Hong Kong with her husband and three children.