Zuriel Oduwole

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Zuriel Oduwole
Zuriel Oduwole with hat.jpg
Zuriel, during a 2015 interview
Zuriel Elise Oduwole

c. 2002 (age 16–17)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Years active2012–present
OrganizationDream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up
Notable work
Zuriel meets Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington DC

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[1] Her advocacy has since made her the youngest person to be profiled by Forbes.[2] 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,[3][4] and then went on to screen in Ghana, England, South Africa, and Japan.[5][6][7]

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.[4] In 2013, Oduwole was listed in the New African Magazine's list of "100 Most Influential People in Africa".[8]

Zuriel after Addressing Ashesi University Students - Ghana.

Early life and career[edit]

Zuriel Oduwole with President Buhari

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[28]

Zuriel Speaks to Guyana President at the United Nations

In 2014 at age 12, her self-produced documentary film titled A Promising Africa was screened in five countries.[3] 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".[11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Zuriel directing on set - Los Angeles

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.[14][15]

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.[16]

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.[17][18]

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.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21][22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

Zuriel Oduwole Arrives at 2015 SAFTA Film Awards Johannesburg - SA

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.[25][26] 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.[27][28]

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 [29]

TRT World news interviewed and featured her on their Newsmakers section after her participation at the UN events [30]

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.[31]

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 [32][33][34]

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.[35][36][37][38]

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 [39][40]

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[41]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

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.[42] Also that year she was listed in the New African Magazine's list of "100 Most Influential People in Africa".[8] 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".[11] 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.[12]

On 12 March 2016, Zuriel won the "Woman on The Rise" category at the 2016 edition of the "New African Women Awards".[43][44] 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.[27]



  1. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole - Film Maker". CNN. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Meet Inspiring 11 Year-Old Zuriel Oduwole! Watch her Ebonylife Interview". BellaNaija. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Wonderkid Zuriel Oduwole takes on Michael Jackson in new documentary". The Guardian. 23 November 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b Said-Moorhouse, Lauren (30 April 2015). "She's made 4 films, interviewed 14 heads of state – oh, and she's only 12". CNN. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  5. ^ Peters, Oreoluwa (8 May 2016). "13-year-old Nigerian filmmaker, Zuriel Oduwole featured on CNBC Africa (WATCH) - YNaija". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  6. ^ "CNBC Profiles 13 Year Old Film Maker - ZURIEL ODUWOLE | Magazeti ya leo| Tanzania News |Tanzania Today". www.tanzaniatoday.co.tz. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  7. ^ Ellerson, Beti (3 March 2016). "AFRICAN WOMEN IN CINEMA BLOG: Girl filmmaker Zuriel Oduwole: "…using my documentaries to tell Africa's story."". AFRICAN WOMEN IN CINEMA BLOG. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Zuriel Oduwole makes Africa's most Influential people list". The Nation. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  9. ^ a b Otufodunrin, Lekan (13 August 2013). "MY ENCOUNTERS WITH AFRICAN PRESIDENTS, OTHERS SAYS 10 YEAR OLD, ZURIEL ODUWOLE". Bio Reports. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  10. ^ "MEET THE YOUNGEST FILM MAKER IN THE WORLD – ZURIEL ODUWOLE". CNBC. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  11. ^ a b Melissa, Stanger; Melia, Robinson (21 April 2014). "The Most Powerful Person at Every Age". Business Insider. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  12. ^ a b Hassan, Sanusi (23 February 2015). "Young Nigerian filmmaker, Zuriel Oduwole honoured alongside Angelina Jolie, others". Nigeria Entertainment Today. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  13. ^ Editor, Web. "Zuriel Oduwole visits Tuks". Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Columbia University announces line-up of speakers ahead of April 11 African Economic Forum (AEF) in New York City". African Business Central. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  15. ^ "7 reasons to attend Columbia University's Africa Economic Forum in New York - Homecoming Revolution". 8 April 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole Interviews Her 15th World Leader, H.E The President of Guinea/ For Documentary Short". Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Always Highlights #Unstoppable CSR Work in 'Like a Girl' Follow-Up". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  18. ^ Always (7 July 2015), Being Unstoppable #LikeAGirl - A Film by Zuriel Oduwole, retrieved 30 October 2016
  19. ^ "Nigeria: Peace Ambassador, Zuriel Oduwole, Meets 16th World Leader At UN". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  20. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole launches her foundation in Lagos". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  21. ^ "Zuriel Teaches Youths Film Making/Speaks @ TEDx in Lagos | Magazeti ya leo| Tanzania News |Tanzania Today". www.tanzaniatoday.co.tz. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  22. ^ Corporation, New Era Publication (2 March 2016). "World's youngest filmmaker, Zuriel Oduwole inpires Namibian youth". New Era Newspaper Namibia. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  23. ^ "Conference by The Sea - Maryland State Childcare Association". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  24. ^ Center, StubHub. "Women in Entertainment Luncheon 2016 | StubHub Center". www.stubhubcenter.com. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  25. ^ "When would the lion learn to write?". Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole". Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  27. ^ Editor, Online (26 August 2016). "TEDxKids Spark Conversation, Innovation in Lagos". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  28. ^ TEDx Talks (27 October 2016), Can Kids Make a Global Impact | Zuriel Oduwole | TEDxKids@Gbagada, retrieved 27 October 2016
  29. ^ "Zuriel Speaks At The UN - Supports Climate Change Initiative | Magazeti ya leo| Tanzania News |Tanzania Today". www.tanzaniatoday.co.tz. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  30. ^ TRT World (30 September 2016), The Newsmakers: Sugar coating the truth? And an interview with Zuriel Oduwole, retrieved 2 October 2016
  31. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole builds a powerful coalition of female world leaders". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  32. ^ "À QUATRE-BORNES : Zuriel Oduwole, présidente du Jury de la finale des courts-métrages | Le Mauricien". www.lemauricien.com. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  33. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole: "L'atout de l'Afrique, c'est sa population "". lexpress.mu (in French). 25 November 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  34. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole, la plus jeune réalisatrice cinématographique au monde, est à Maurice.[VIDEO]". mbc.intnet.mu. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  35. ^ administrator. "President Kolinda Kitarovic of Croatia meets Zuriel Oduwole | The Government and Business Journal". govandbusinessjournal.com.ng. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  36. ^ Editor, Online (13 February 2017). "Croatian President Hosts Rising Nigerian Education-for-Girls Advocate, Zuriel Oduwole". THISDAYLIVE. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  37. ^ TV360NIGERIA (15 February 2017), Zuriel meets president of Croatia to discuss Education, Gender issues, retrieved 20 February 2017
  38. ^ "Zuriel meets Croatia's President Grabar-Kitarovic". Trumpet Media Group. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  39. ^ Donna, Naomi. "Zuriel Oduwole, l'ado qui bouscule le monde des adultes". Forbes Afrique magazine (in French). Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  40. ^ "Forbes Afrique features Nigeria's Zuriel Oduwole in February edition". Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  41. ^ administrator. "City of Pachuca welcomes Zuriel Oduwole to Mexico as Education Ambassador | The Government and Business Journal". govandbusinessjournal.com.ng. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  42. ^ "Zuriel Oduwole: Africa's most influential 11-year-old". The Nation. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  43. ^ Inyese, Amaka (12 March 2016). "Oby Ezekwesili, Zuriel Oduwole, Jumoke Adenowo and others emerge winners". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  44. ^ "Meet New African Woman magazine's pick of the top 11 women who are changing the game on the continent". Mail & Guardian Africa. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.

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