Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri serves the World Council of Churches as deputy general secretary. Before joining WCC in 2012, she was a professor of African theology, dean and head of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, and director of the Centre for Constructive Theology at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She also served as editor of the Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa.
A Malawian by nationality, Apawo Phiri holds a masters degree in religious education from the University of Lancaster, England, and a doctorate in religious studies from University of Cape Town, South Africa.
From 2002 to 2007 she served as general coordinator of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.
Apawo Phiri's research and teaching interests span the fields of systematic theology with a focus on ecclesiology, mission history, studies in African-instituted churches, and African theology with a focus on African women's theology.
In 1995, she was voted Woman of the Year by the Nation Newspaper for breaking the silence on sexual harassment and rape in Malawi and bringing gender justice into public debate.