Auma Obama

Founder and Director of the Sauti Kuu Foundation (Strong Voices)

Auma Obama

Founder and Director of the Sauti Kuu Foundation (Strong Voices)


Dedicated humanitarian, Auma Obama will talk about “Extraordinary Women” and their transformational power, inspiring people to find better ways of achieving a goal. Her professional career and social work are a living proof of her believes.


Dr. Auma Obama was born and raised in Kenya, and received her master’s degree at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Following this, she successfully completed another degree programme at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin and given a doctoral degree from the University of Bayreuth simultaneously.

For several years, Dr. Obama lived and worked in Germany and the UK before returning to Kenya, where she worked for the aid organisation CARE International. An important part of her work there was the establishment and coordination of the network ‘Sport for Social Change’. This initiative brought together organisations from different countries of East Africa, from Egypt and Bangladesh, in order to familiarize girls in particular with sport as a means for improving their own social situation.

Alongside her work for the foundation, Dr. Obama is a member of the World Future Council, an organisation that works worldwide to promote responsible, sustainable thinking and action on behalf of future generations. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the ‘German Reading Foundation’ as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies at the University of Bayreuth. Dr. Obama is a member of the Governing Council of the Kilimanjaro Initiative in Nairobi (Kenya), which organises a yearly event that offers disadvantaged young people an opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. This project gives these young adults an opportunity to strengthen their self-confidence in order to positively impact their communities. Since 2014, Dr. Obama has been the patron of the international Storymoja Festivals in Kenya. The festival serves as a platform to discover and inspire creative new talent, and specifically to promote reading and writing skills among children and teenagers.

Dr. Obama is also the initiator of the Sauti Kuu Act Now Awards, which were launched in Berlin in 2015. The awards recognize children and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25 who dedicate themselves to social, humanitarian and environmental projects.

Dr. Obama is a widely read author. Her book, And Then Life Happens: A Memoir, was published in German in 2010 and subsequently translated into English. She is a highly sought after speaker, who has had talks at numerous events worldwide on topics relating to socio-economic development. Her focus here at the forum is on the relationship between the so-called ‘developing countries’ and the ‘developed states’.

The awards with which Dr. Obama has been presented in recognition of her dedication to humanitarian efforts include the Prix Courage, awarded by the German broadcaster ZDF in cooperation with Clarins, Paris (2014); the B.A.U.M. Award (2015); the World Human Rights Award (2015) by Look magazine; the Kiwanis Award (2016, Kiwanis Club Stuttgart); and the Deutscher Rednerpreis presented by the German Speakers Association (2015). Dr. Obama is the sister of former U.S. President Barack Obama.

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