Hafsat Abiola (born 1974 in Lagos) is a Nigerian human rights, civil rights and democracy activist, founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), which seeks to strengthen civil society and promote democracy in Nigeria.
Hafsat Olaronke Abiola is the eighth child of Nigeria’s uninaugurated (June 12, 1993) President-elect, the late ChiefMoshood Abiola, who was put in prison by the dictator Gen. Sani Abacha for treason after declaring himself president. President-elect Abiola later died under detention in 1998. Hafsat’s mother, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola (killed in 1996), was murdered during a demonstration for the release of her husband in 1996.
Abiola graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, in 1992 and Harvard College in 1996. She received an honorary doctorate from Haverford College.
Abiola is the founder of China-Africa Bridge and China Africa Forum, which promotes mutually beneficial cross-cultural collaboration between China and Africa, with a specific eye on women’s contributions to the economy.
In 2000, Abiola was honored as a Global Leader of Tomorrow at theWorld Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In 2003, she was elected as a Fellow of the Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in recognition of her international status as a social entrepreneur. In 2006 she was nominated to be a founding councilor at the World Future Council.
In 2006 she raised funds by organizing performances of The Vagina Monologues in Nigeria. Since May 2008 she is also a Councilor at the World Future Council among 49 other well known personalities.
In 2008, the Europe-based A Different View chose Abiola to be one of the 15 Champions of World Democracy. Other champions include Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Corazon Aquino, and Sima Samar. She is an advisory council member at the Fetzer Institute as well as the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
In 2015 she was chosen to be one of 21 women who met for a conference at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government funded by Hunt Alternatives. The group included Judy Thongori from Kenya, Fauzia Nasreen from Pakistan and Olufunke Baruwa, Esther Ibanga and Ayisha Osori also from Nigeria.
Subject to an unusual clause in her fathers will, Hafsat took DNA tests to prove that she was the daughter of her father. The results show that she has about seventy half-siblings.
- Youth Peace and Justice Award of the Cambridge Peace Commission, 1997
- State of the World Forum Changemaker Award, 1998
- Woman to Watch for Award, 1999
- Global Leader of Tomorrow Award, World Economic Forum, 2000
- Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Global Award, 2001