Zuriel, during a 2015 interview
Zuriel Elise Oduwole
c. 2002 (age 16–17)
|Organization||Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up|
Zuriel Elise Oduwole is an American education advocate and film maker best known for her works on the advocacy for the education of girls in Africa. She is of Nigerian and Mauritian descent Her advocacy has since made her the youngest person to be profiled by Forbes. In November 2014, at age 12, Zuriel became the world's youngest filmmaker to have a self-produced and self-edited work after her film showed in two movie chains, and then went on to screen in Ghana, England, South Africa, and Japan.
Oduwole has met with 24 presidents and prime ministers in line with her education advocacy work. Some of these include the leaders of Jamaica, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Liberia, South Sudan, Malta, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Guyana and Namibia. She has also appeared in popular television stations including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, BBC and CNN. In 2013, Oduwole was listed in the New African Magazine's list of "100 Most Influential People in Africa".
Early life and career
Zuriel Oduwole was born in Los Angeles, U.S to a Nigerian father and a Mauritian mother. Her first venture into media and advocacy was in 2012 when she entered a school competition with a documentary film about Africa titled The Ghana Revolution. For this she conducted her first presidential interviews, when she met with two former presidents of Ghana: Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor.
In 2013, after the release of her documentary film titled The 1963 OAU Formation, Zuriel Oduwole was profiled in Forbes Magazine. As part of this second documentary, she interviewed the President of Malawi ( Joyce Banda ), the President of Tanzania ( Jakaya Kikwete ) and the President of Mauritius ( Rakeshwar Purryag ). In March 2013, Oduwole formally started a project called "Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up", a campaign which was first launched at the Lagos Business School's Pan-Atlantic University, for the advocacy and promotion of girl-child education in Africa.
In 2014 at age 12, her self-produced documentary film titled A Promising Africa was screened in five countries. On 21 April 2014, Oduwole was listed as the most Powerful 11 year old in the world by New York Business Insider's in their listing of "World's Most Powerful Person at Every Age". In February 2015, Elle Magazine listed her in their annual feature of "33 Women Who Changed The World", alongside Fed Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and President of General Motors, Mary Barra.
The University of Pretoria in South Africa [aka TUKS] invited her to speak to their student body in March 2015 as a film maker, to give the students an insight into how to communicate and tell the story of global events, from a specific perspective – as part of their Humanities series.
In April 2015, the Ivy League's Columbia University in New York, U.S invited her as a featured speaker at their African Economic Forum conference, as well as a segment panelist, to speak about the potentials of the new Africa.
President Alpha Conde of Guinea met and spoke with Zuriel in May 2015, as part of an information documentary she was doing on the Ebola Virus, which started in his country Guinea [before ravaging Sierra Leone and Liberia] to understand the impact on the economies of the region, as well as the effect on children's education. President Conde was her 15th world leader she would meet to talk about pertinent and pressing issues.
As part of their global #LikeAGirl campaign to shore up girls confidence as they entered adolescence, global giant Procter & Gamble engaged Zuriel in June 2015 to create a short documentary about the education of girls about puberty, and the support needed during this period of their lives. She wrote, narrated and produced the video for the campaign with the theme Unstoppable Like A Girl.
While attending global events during the 70th United Nations General Assembly session in New York in September 2015, she met David A. Granger, the President of Guyana on the sidelines of the General Assembly, to speak about the disputed Esequiba Oil territory.
In December 2015, she formally launched her DUSUSU Foundation aimed at building partnerships with corporation and individuals, to develop the education capabilities of children, but especially the girl child, across the globe. As a film maker, she launched her film making 101 Initiative for youths in Windhoek, Namibia in March 2016 and Lagos, Nigeria in June 2016, teaching some of Africa's poorest children basic film making skills, so they have practical skills they can use in gainful or self-employment, as young adults.
In April 2016 at age 13, she was invited as the keynote speaker at the annual Maryland State Department of Education's Early Childhood Educational conference at Ocean City, Maryland, addressing more than 600 adult delegates on how she sees the education of future US leaders developing. Later in June 2016, she was invited as the featured speaker as well as a panelist at the annual Women in Entertainment Luncheon, in Los Angeles, California, U.S.
The Guardian Newspaper in late June 2016 signed her on as a Columnist to share her insight on issues as seen by a younger generation and giving her a section and segment for periodic writing. She became a TEDx circuit speaker when she headlined the TEDx Gbagada event in July 2016 as the featured speaker, talking about the inter-connectivity between the past and future generations.
At the 71st United Nations [UN] General Assembly events in New York in September 2016, Zuriel was invited to speak on how the effects of climate change is significantly affecting the education of children in the Pacific Island region. She met to discuss these issues afterwards with the Prime Minister of Samoa - H.E. Tuilaepa Malielegaoi and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, H.E. Enele Sopoaga. She was invited to meet the new Jamaica Prime Minister - H.E. Andrew Holness, to understand how Global Warming is affecting countries in the Caribbean region also 
TRT World news interviewed and featured her on their Newsmakers section after her participation at the UN events 
In October 2016, she met with her 23rd World Leader, the President of Malta Her Excellency Mary Louise Preca, to share her ideas on building a network of female world leaders to tackle the issue of "out of school children", especially girls, around the world.
As part of activities to commemorate their 11th annual Kreole festival from November 22–25, the government of Mauritius invited Zuriel Oduwole to be the special guest for the years events. Apart from being a judge for the film competition during the festival chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister Xavier Luc Duval, she taught 150 underprivileged children basic film making skills from the Port Louis municipality as a film maker herself, and was a guest at the African night concert at the country's Citadel center in Port Louis along with Zambian First Lady, H.E. Esther Lungu 
In January 11, 2017 the Rt Hon John Kerry met Zuriel in Washington DC to commend her for what he called her 'clarity of purpose' in recognizing a major global developmental issue - Girls Education, and taking on the challenge head on. He also lauded her film making class for unemployed youths, which he said was making a tangible difference.
In February 2015, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia met with Zuriel Oduwole to commend her work on Girls Education and to learn how her basic 'Film Making 101' skill transfer programs could make a difference for the youth in Croatia.
Forbes Afrique featured Zuriel for their February 2017 [Fevrier 2017] issue. The magazine introduced her DUSUSU Foundation and its evolving partnerships with development groups on the continent, such as the Dangote Foundation, for her Gender Development and Skill transfer project initiatives 
Zuriel visited Mexico as an Education Ambassador, speaking to 350 youths in Mexico State and Hidalgo State and taking them through her basic Film Making 101 Class, already conducted in 4 other countries. The City of Pachuca - in Hidalgo state then honored her with an Award and Citation for her global work in the area of Education Development and Girls Equality advocacy
Awards and recognitions
In October 2013, Oduwole was bestowed with an honorary ambassador title in Tanzania by Salma Kikwete, and a computer lab in one of the country's schools was named after her. Also that year she was listed in the New African Magazine's list of "100 Most Influential People in Africa". On 21 April 2014, Oduwole was listed as the most Powerful 11 year old in the world by New York Business Insider's in their listing of "World's Most Powerful Person at Every Age". In February 2015, Elle Magazine listed her in their annual feature of "33 Women Who Changed The World", alongside Fed Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and President of General Motors, Mary Barra.
On 12 March 2016, Zuriel won the "Woman on The Rise" category at the 2016 edition of the "New African Women Awards". In August 2016 at age 14, Forbes Afrique which is distributed across all 23 Francophone African countries as well as France, Belgium and Switzerland, featured her in their annual Africa's 100 Most Influential Women's list, alongside the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ameenah Gurib, President of Mauritius.
- The Ghana Revolution (2012)
- The 1963 OAU Formation (2013)
- Technology in Educational Development (2014)
- A Promising Africa (2014)
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