African Reign

09/14/2011 05:29 pm ET | Updated Nov 14, 2011

The 60th annual Miss Universe Pageant was held Sunday night in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

After a preliminary competition, the field of 89 delegates was narrowed down to a top 16 who competed in swimsuit, evening gown, and on stage question. At the end of the evening, it was 25-year-old Leila Lopes of Angola who won the coveted crown. Leila is the first Miss Universe to come from the African country of Angola.

As I watched the events unfold, I could not help but think about the Walking Africa Campaign. Last night Africa was represented beautifully by all of its delegates. These women, representing Angola, Botswana, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania, displayed confidence, poise and grace. Each woman should be so proud of the job they did representing their respective countries.

It is my sincere hope that this moment will serve as yet another stepping stone on the path to greater understanding and knowledge of African women and the positions they hold within their communities.

The Nobel Prize committee will be meeting in a few weeks and I cannot help but smile when I think of the progress that is already being made for African Women. Progress is not defined by the actions of one person but it is a collective effort. Leila is a perfect reflection of beauty, intelligence, and humility and I am confident that she will be a wonderful role model to women everywhere.

For more information and the most current updates please visit the Walking Africa page on Facebook and the Nobel Prize homepage.

Written By Clarissa Burt with Tristan Topps