Olakunle Joel Adewale

2015 Fellow from Nigeria

Olakunle (Kunle) Adewale is founder of Tender Arts Nigeria, a social enterprise that focuses on therapeutic arts, art education, talent development, community development, and civic engagement. The nonprofit has benefited more than 15,000 children, young people, and adults through art programs in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States, including people living with cancer, sickle cell anemia, dementia, mental illnesses, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism. Previously, Kunle was international director of Healing Through Art, a program for survivors of the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria. Kunle is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, where he specialized in Painting and Art History. A member of Art Therapy Without Borders, Kunle received the United Kingdom’s 2016 Commonwealth Youth Worker Award and in 2018 was nominated for Junior Chamber International’s 10 Outstanding Young Persons of Nigeria. He is the Nigerian representative for the arts for the Health Early Career Research Network and is an Atlantic Fellow of the Global Brain Health Institute. He was recently shortlisted by World Bank as one of 68 Social Inclusion Heroes. A 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow, Kunle credits the Fellowship with helping him scale up his development work in Nigeria.

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