Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg,Mother Karua Daughter Biography


Martha Karua has one son and a daughter.Her daughter’s name is Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg who currently serves as the Executive Director of Rise, a joint initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust. Before that she was Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Wanjiru is also the Founder and past Executive Director of Akili Dada,

Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is an Executive-In-Residence at Schmidt Futures, building an initiative focused on senior/executive Black women leaders globally. She is also an advisor and ambassador to the Rise program, and supports the Talent Engine programs at Schmidt Futures integrate global perspectives and a social inclusion lens into their work. She served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Rise program, a joint initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust.

Previously she was Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) which is working towards inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for the African continent with more gender responsive agricultural research and innovation.

Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg has received widespread recognition for her work including being honored as a White House Champion of Change by the Obama Administration, named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine, recognized as a Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy, awarded the United Nations Intercultural Innovation Award, named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Women Under Age 40 and a 2018 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow among others

She is a member of the selection committee of the Africa Food Prize, and the Malabo Montpellier Panel, a high-level panel of independent experts that supports African governments and civil society identify and implement policies that enhance agriculture, food and nutrition security across the continent. She also sits on the Board of the Syngenta Foundation, Landesa, & Twaweza and the council of the Gender Fund

Before AWARD, Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg founded and led 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 was also 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.

Born in Kenya, Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and a Doctorate (Honoris Causa) both from Whitman College in Washington, U.S.A.