Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s son, Uzodinma, has been announced as the winner of the 2023 Leo Award.
The New York–based nonprofit Independent Curators International (ICI) sponsors the award.
Since 2018, Uzodinma, popularly called ‘Uzo’ has served as Chief Executive Officer of New York’s African Center, with whose team he shares the prize.
In a press statement sent to journalists, ICI said that under Iweala’s leadership, the centre has worked to change the global understanding of Africa and its diaspora and the role played by people of African descent.
The statement continued:
“Iweala and his team have been instrumental in fostering dialogue, breaking down barriers, and amplifying diverse voices from the African continent.
“They have transformed The Africa Center into a vibrant celebration of the richness and dynamism of African cultures and created a new civic model for cultural institutions.”
Renaud Proch, ICI’s executive and artistic director, said in a statement:
“All of us at ICI are delighted to honour Uzo and his team with ICI’s 2023 Leo Award.
“They have been inspirational collaborators. We are grateful for our meaningful partnership with the Africa Center, which will continue to play an important part in shaping our programs for years to come.”
Iweala is the author of the novel Speak No Evil (2018), the tale of a queer Nigerian American youth living in Washington, DC.
His 2005 debut, Beasts of No Nation, about a West African boy forced to become a child soldier, was eventually adapted as a film with award-winning British actor Idris Elba playing the lead role.
Named for renowned art dealer Leo Castelli, the Leo Award recognizes an exceptional contribution to contemporary art.
“Congratulations to my son Dr Uzodinma Iweala for winning the Independent Curators International 2023 Leo Award for his leadership of the Africa Center in New York. So proud of you!!,” his mother wrote on Twitter.
Uzodinma, 40, s a trained medical doctor from Harvard and Columbia who has since focused on his literary works.
He is a board of trustees member at the International Center of Photography and the World Wildlife Fund.