A Worldwide Emergency

May 3, 2021

Growing up in Nairobi, Kenya, Sanda Ojiambo (M.A. ’98), was deeply aware of global inequalities, an understanding that came into even sharper focus when she went away to college and graduate school in North America, including earning her master’s degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

“Because of my life experiences, I always knew that I wanted to work in a space where I could interrogate why there are haves and have-nots in the world,” Ojiambo says.

Last June, she got the opportunity to do this on a sweeping scale when she became the CEO and executive director of the United Nation’s Global Compact. Founded in 2000 by then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. It operates on the premise that there are 10 principles for how businesses of all sizes can and should be run that prioritize human rights, labor, fighting corruption, and the environment. The Global Compact has over 12,000 business members and 3,000 non-business stakeholders across 160 countries.


Sanda Ojiambo