CEO & Co-Founder

Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes is the CEO and co-founder of the Akilah Institute, Rwanda’s only university for women. She is building a global education organization with an ambitious goal: to provide innovative and affordable higher education to millions of students in emerging markets.

Learn More


The Akilah Institute has provided transformational education to more than 2,000 students and alumni over the past decade. 88% of Akilah alumnae are employed within six months of graduating, and 90% of graduates are supporting at least one individual or family member financially. Akilah graduates have gone on to work for global companies, including MeshPower Ltd, Marriott, Airtel, Centennial Generation, MTN Rwanda, Off Grid Electric, ISON BPO, Impact Hub, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Inkomoko Business Development, and many more.


Coming Soon…

Elizabeth is building a global education organization that cultivates future leaders with the intellect and character to solve the world’s most pressing challenges through a lens of opportunity and sustainability. Our model is a unique hybrid of a liberal arts education - with a focus on critical thinking, creativity, articulate communication, and collaboration - together with applied and technical curricula that equips students with valuable workforce skills.


february 2019

It’s no secret that educating women and girls is critical to sustainable development, economic growth, environmental stewardship, and a host of other factors key to humanity’s future. It’s less well-known that women’s education plays a critical role in mitigating climate change.

Read More




Untitled design (18).png