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Tererai  Trent

Tererai Trent

Oprah Winfrey's "All-Time Favorite Guest"


One of today’s most internationally recognized voices for quality education and women’s empowerment, Dr. Tererai Trent is a symbol of hope for children around the world. Her new picture book, The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can (October 2015), is based on her story of perseverance. Read More >

Dr. Trent grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe and always dreamed of getting an education, but limited by traditional Zimbabwean culture, she was married with three children by the time she was eighteen. Undeterred by traditional roles and cultural norms, Tererai determinedly taught herself to read and write from her brother’s schoolbooks. From those humble beginnings, Tererai has become a world-renowned scholar, humanitarian, motivational speaker, educator, mentor, and inspiration, leading the global charge in the fight for quality education for all children.

So what makes Dr. Trent Oprah Winfrey’s “all time favorite guest?” While still a young mother without a high school diploma, Tererai decided to take control of her destiny. She wrote down her dreams of going to America for higher education, sealed them in a tin can and buried them under a rock, thereby redesigning the blueprint for her life. Tererai’s steadfast determination, hard work and belief in her dreams would eventually earn her multiple degrees. Today, Dr. Trent is a senior consultant with more than 18 years of international experience in program and policy evaluation, and has worked on five continents for major humanitarian organizations. With a desire to give back to her community and the firm belief that education is the pathway out of poverty, Dr. Trent founded Tinogona Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to build, repair and renovate schools in rural Zimbabwe. Through strategic partnerships with Oprah Winfrey and Save the Children, Tinogona is helping build nine schools, improving the lives for nearly 4,000 children.

Using her prominent global platform in conjunction with world leaders and international audiences, Tererai tirelessly speaks on behalf of children without an access to education. On top of sharing her remarkable story, Trent appeals to international businesses to invest in equal access to education. She empowers women to be leaders in their communities, imparting the lessons she learned along her incredible journey. A warm and engaging speaker, Dr. Tererai Trent lights up audiences with her enduring spirit and strength, and leaves everyone motivated to fight not only for their own dreams, but also for the dreams of others. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Forgotten Women and Girls

Horizons for Homeless Children

Having a Dream

UN Global Leaders Summit 2013

Speaking on MLK Day

Loyola University Commencement Address

Thank You

Speech Topics

The Awakened Woman: The "Un Silencing" of Women

And to you, sister, what silences your dreams? What are the words that define or limit you? Do you hear these words—even things that concern your own life; you are not thin enough to fit the mold, you are not good enough as you are; you are too old to be in the public eye, to achieve your dreams you have to satisfy the powers to be. The voices that define, discourage, allure and silence us also propel us toward pursuing an unfulfilled life. The awakening of what silences us is not only central to the achievement of our dreams but also to the world's healing. Read More >

Never has there been a more critical time for women to explore who they are, lift one another up, turn to one another for support, learn from one another, explore new ideas, and to embrace their power and take on leadership roles and create a world order that stands for peace and recognizes the dignity of all people and the environment.

Drawing from the precious wisdom of her African cultural roots, and the valuable lessons of achieving success in present day America, Dr. Trent gracefully communicates her universal message of the awakening of women, using her own extraordinary life experience, she guides listeners on a journey into the depths of their hearts and spirits to discover their dreams, identify the greater meaning of their lives, and tap the courage and resources necessary to make those dreams a reality.

Poised between the ancient and modern, in this speech, based on her new book, The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting Our Sacred Dreams, Dr. Trent offers her listeners intimate, and evocative guide that teaches nine essential lessons to encourage women to re-examine their dreams and uncover the power hidden within them—the power to forge a brighter path. Read Less ^

The Story of a Little Girl with Big Dreams

Dr. Tererai Trent has a story to share about a little girl with big dreams. All the girl ever wanted was an education. But in Rhodesia, education for girls was nearly impossible. So, she taught herself to read and write with her brother’s schoolbooks and to count while watching cattle graze. Read More >

When the girl became a young wife and mother, she wrote her goals on a scrap of paper and buried them in a can — an ancient ritual that reminded her that she couldn't give up on her dreams. Would her dreams ever come true? Dr. Trent’s true story of perseverance, based on her new picture book The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can (October 2015), is sure to inspire audiences of all ages and focus on the importance of education. Read Less ^

The Three Powers of Inspired Women’s Leadership: Great Hunger (Passion), Mentorship & Giving Back

Drawing from the precious wisdom of her African cultural roots, and the valuable lessons of achieving success in present day America, Dr. Tererai Trent is poised between the ancient and modern—offering a beautifully unique perspective, privilege to a rare few. Read More >

In her talk, Dr. Trent will talk about the importance of cultivating three essential powers of women's leadership:

  1. The Power of Great Hunger: The energy that gives Women’s Leadership determination and perseverance, which makes them stay focused on important issues in life.
  2. The Power of Mentorship: How Women’s Leadership connects and builds relationships for personal growth, ultimately impacting communities and societies at large.
  3. The Power of Giving Back: How women use talents, time, money and other resources to build communities, and champion issues whose greatness defines our humanity.

Dr. Trent will share how nurturing these three powers enable women to cultivate legacy leadership while making a positive difference in the world, ultimately, giving a strong voice in shaping our collective future. She will unfold these powers by weaving them with her remarkable story, thereby offering a global perspective that connects women of all ages and backgrounds.  Read Less ^

Education is a Human Right: Turning Oppression Into Opportunities

Do we truly have the right to dream? What drives our hunger to dream? Asking these questions and honoring their answers was a sacred process that formed the foundation of Tererai Trent's dream for an education.   Read More >

Married young, having three children by the time she was eighteen, and without a high school education, in this talk, Dr. Trent takes us on a journey that changed the narrative of her life and, ultimately, inspiring millions of girls worldwide.  In her talk, Dr. Trent exemplifies what happens when hardship is overcome by the power of belief and how opportunity and the power of those who believe in education can change individuals’ destiny. Her strong belief that education gives meaning to life and defines our survival as a community asks us to examine how society must better manage the choices it offers to women and girls. 

More importantly, in this remarkable speech, Dr. Trent offers her audience a powerful lens to gain a global perspective and action for universal education and gender equality. She inspires and make us realize that we, as a global society, have a moral responsibility and a choice to be the fertile ground for access to quality education that positively impact the dreams of millions despite gender, class, and background.  Read Less ^