Wanjiru Kamau-RutenbergWanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg PhD




Occupational Information

Occupation: Policy specialist

Position: Director of AWARD

Professional History

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg leads African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). AWARD is working towards inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for the African continent by strengthening the production and dissemination of agricultural research and innovation that is more gender responsive.  Prior to joining AWARD, Wanjiru founded and served as the Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator that invests in high-achieving young women from under-resourced families, who are passionate about driving change in their communities.  She served as an assistant professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and a lecturer in International Relations at Hekima College, a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Her academic research and teaching interests centered on African politics, gender, international relations, ethnicity, and democratization, and the role of technology in social activism.

Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg has received widespread recognition for her work, including being honored as a White House Champion of Change by the Obama administration; was named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine; recognized as a Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy; and, named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Women Under Age 40.  In November 2019, she was appointed as an International Advisory Board Member to ZEF, the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn.


B.A. in Politics; Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington
M.A. in Political Science; University of Minnesota
Ph.D. in Political Science, International Relations, Gender Studies, African History; University of Minnesota
Honoris Causa; Whitman College University, Virginia


2018 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow