Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker


Want to be entertained? Educated? Or informed on current events? Catherine Onyemelukwe is an informative, polished, and engaging speaker. Watch her here. Or listen to an interview.

Her keynotes and seminars provide audiences with anecdotes, history, and cultural references comparing Western and African customs. She conveys her intimate knowledge of Igbo family structure and culture to American audiences with enthusiasm, drawing audience members into a feeling of shared community. She makes comparisons between the divisiveness of race issues in the U.S. and the sense of community in an African village. She recommends methods for white people like her to be part of the fight against racism. Catherine can speak to a variety of topics in regard to Nigeria and race and is currently accepting speaking engagements into 2018.

“I’ve never heard a white person speak so openly and truthfully about race issues. Thank you!” a Jamaican audience member said about Catherine, after the Westport CT Library’s first PechaKucha event.

Catherine’s Most Requested Topics:

  • Nigeria Today: Malls, Mayhem and Modernity
  • Traditions for the Ages
  • You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Been Chased by an Igbo Masquerade
  • Ten Igbo Customs for Americans
  • Fight Racism with White Privilege
  • Current Events, including Boko Haram and the Chibok school girls’ kidnapping
  • Education in Nigeria Today and Yesterday
  • History of a Troubled Country
  • The Legacy of Colonialism in Nigeria

Speaking Engagements Include:

  • International Women’s UU Convo, Asilomar, CA, Feb. 18, 2017
  • Lifetime Learners Institute, Norwalk CT, Sept-Nov 2016, six-session class on Living in Community, Lessons from Nigeria
  • LLI, Sept-Nov. 2015, Nigeria: Slavery to Superrich, Four Centuries of Change
  • The Unitarian Church in Westport CT, August 2015, Sharing and Caring in Community
  • Peace Corps groups, including Friends of Nigeria, June 2015 in Berkeley CA, Meeting The Dibia, and June 2014 in Nashville, TN, “How Did Nigeria Give Me Community?”
  • Peace Corps Connect, National reunion of former Peace Corps volunteers, Berkeley CA, panelist on memoir writing
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals TechKnow Conference, New Orleans LA, June 2012, “What is Your Excuse for Not Yet Using Social Media?” presenter
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals National Conference, Baltimore MD, April 2010, “Hard Talk About Racial Justice: How to Bring Your Donors Closer in a Cross-Cultural Context,” co-presenter
  • Unitarian Universalist congregations in four states, Montclair NJ, Westport CT, White Plains and South Fork NY, andFairhaven MA, on UN Activities to Stimulate Change in Nigeria, 2004 to 2014
    • Selected titles include “Georgina and our Sixth Principle: Empower women for a better future;” “Breaking Kola, the value and meaning of Igbo customs;” “Kentucky to Connecticut, via Nigeria, to Find Community”


  • US National Committee in support of UN Women, an agency of the UN, board member
  • TEAMWestport (official town committee established to encourage multiculturalism), member
  • The Unitarian Church in Westport, co-chair of legacy committee, search committee for new senior minister member, choir member (3 choirs)
  • National Peace Corps Association (organization of Peace Corps alumni), board member 1994-2000, member of Board Emeriti
  • Connecticut Returned Peace Corps Association, former board member, now member
  • Friends of Nigeria (Peace Corps volunteers who served in Nigeria), co-founder, former board member, now member
  • Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association, former class president, current chair of legacy giving
  • Yale School of Management Alumni Association, member
  • Westport Library, former board president and member
  • Nigerwives (organization of women married to Nigerian men), co-founder, former president, member
  • Ndi Nutara Di (women married into the Onyemelukwe clan), member
  • Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria 1962-64


  1. Pingback: Dolls, Elections, and Book Talks | Catherine Onyemelukwe

  2. Good day nwunyem!(ie my wife in ‘Nanka’ dialet.) I just stumbled on your blog while searching for info. I’m very happy with some of the stuffs in your blog. I spoke with your husband this morning and probably will be seeing him tomorrow. I will find time to chat more with you in future.
    were you in Nanka for festive period?
    Happy new year.


    • Nno (welcome), Ifeanyichukwu. I’m glad you stumbled on my blog. I hope you have signed up so you will get all my posts. Did you see that I post on Afo? Yes, I was in Nanka. Look at recent blog posts and you’ll find pictures of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Nanka. Emma and Dora Osisioma were there. How are you related to them?

  3. It’s also really nice to know that you are so up to date with Nigeria and its issues. Well done.

  4. Gosh! You co-founded Niger Wives. It has grown and been sustained. Still quite important in helping these women of other cultures settle in. I was always really involved in attending Niger Wives events because of Aunty Doris Fafunwa, a really close family friend.

    • Thanks, Toki. Yes, I’m very proud of my role in helping to found Nigerwives and making it grow. I was the first national president as well as the first president in Lagos. There is at least one branch in the United States, and maybe more. Do you see Doris Fafunwa often? Her son-in-law, Okey Ndibe, wrote one of the comments in the “Acclamations” for my memoir.

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