Lisa Shannon

Author, A Thousand Sisters; Founder, Run for Congo Women and A Thousand Sisters.

“Lisa Shannon read our report—and started a movement.”
-O, The Oprah Magazine

Lisa Shannon, founder of Run for Congo Women, was the first national grassroots activist in the United States working to raise awareness of the forgotten humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since Lisa’s lone 30 mile trail run in 2005, thousands have joined Run for Congo Women, now an international movement which has sponsored more than 1400 war-affected Congolese women through Women for Women International. Shannon’s first book, A Thousand Sisters, targets mainstream audiences, detailing her journeys into war affected eastern Congo in January through February 2007 and May 2008. Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker wrote about A Thousand Sisters, “I can’t imagine a more perfect book for arousing the power of American women (or women and men everywhere) to rush to the defense of our Congolese sisters.”

Lisa Shannon’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2009, along with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Nick Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn and Ben Affleck, resulted in a record-breaking fundraising surge, with more than six million dollars and 16,000 new annual sponsorships raised for Women for Women International, doubling its DR Congo program capacity. Lisa’s work and book A Thousand Sisters have been profiled in multiple appearances in The New York Times, Runner’s World Magazine, National Public Radio, and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as ABC World News Tonight, CNN International, Voice of America, Time Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Venus and Marie Claire. She recently appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine’s 2010 Power List (“some of the world’s most powerful women in politics, business, the arts and academia”), Shape Magazine’s “2010 Women Who Shape the World”, and Nicholas Kristof’s piece on women social entrepreneurs for the New York Times Magazine, “DIY Foreign Aid.”


Shannon went on her third trip to Congo January through March 2010, where she visited the remote northeast, which will be covered in her work-in-progress sequel to A Thousand Sisters, Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen. In May through June 2010 she successfully spearheaded the grassroots outcry in support of conflict minerals legislation. Shannon’s firmly believes the thousands of “average” women she’s met on this journey have the passion and potential to emerge as international leaders for Congo. This is the foundation of the A Thousand Sisters campaign.