ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou Honored with BU Distinguished Alumni Award

Article Date

01 October 2015

Article Author

Ibadet Reller

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou received the Distinguished Alumni Award during the Boston University (BU) Alumni weekend held on September 26 – known as the most prestigious award conferred by the BU Alumni Association honoring individuals who have distinguished themselves by bringing credit to their communities, to the field of public health, and to their University.

“For me, this award represents the work and achievements of three decades of amazing collaborations – with the Boston University School of Public Health, CARE and now at ICRW,” said Kambou accepting her award. “I grew up at BU and the values I assimilated here have guided my professional life for 30 years—that public health is about social justice and that social justice is about public health.”

In 1987, Kambou co-founded the Center for International Health – now the Center for Global Health and Development at Boston University’s School of Public Health – serving as its director for eight years. She spent more then a decade in sub-Saharan Africa managing flagship programs for CARE that focused on addressing the social and economic vulnerability of marginalized populations, strengthening civil society in post-conflict settings, and promoting participatory development of underserved urban and rural communities. 

She has worked for more than 30 years in Asia, Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa, including nearly 13 years at ICRW. Under Kambou’s leadership, ICRW has developed its presence in the Asia and East African regions and expanded its footprint around the globe. She has strengthened ICRW’s work on gender-based violence, child marriage and HIV—and developed emerging areas of inquiry around women and technology, property rights and gender norms in conflict and post-conflict zones.

Kambou has received numerous awards and recognition for dedicating her career to helping improve the livelihoods and status of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized. In December of 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Sarah to the President’s Global Development Council, which is charged with advising the Administration on effective practices and policies for U.S. foreign assistance. She also serves as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, and has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of Free the Slaves. Kambou is a recipient of the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award, conferred in 2013 by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area in recognition of her commitment to improving the status of women everywhere. 

“Women and girls have proven, time and again, that they have enormous potential to change our world. Thanks to BU’s incredible education and influence on my life, I am in a very lucky position to dedicate my time and energy to helping women and girls do just that, and I dedicate this award to them,” said Kambou.

Watch video tribute to Kambou developed by Boston University.