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Atti Worku

Founder and CEO, Seeds of Africa


Educator. Fashion model. NGO founder. Beauty pageant winner. Atti Worku’s career has spanned across industries and continents, but it has always adhered to one central tenet: great things can spring from rough conditions if they’re given the right nourishment.

Born in Adama, Ethiopia, Worku has traveled the world, developing the educational foundation for the next generation of African leaders. As the founder of Seeds of Africa, a New York based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and NGO, she works to create holistic education and community development centers within urban communities in Africa. Since Seed’s launch in 2007, Worku helped raise $1.3 million to support a new school construction project in Ethiopia, increased the operating budget from $20,000 in 2008 to $550,000 in 2015, launched the organization’s two schools serving children from pre-kindergarten to elementary school. Seeds of Africa now serves over 170 children in its school and more than 150 mothers in the community development program.

While working in fashion, Worku represented world-renowned brands, including JC Penney, Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s. She won Miss Ethiopia in 2005 and went on to represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand. After moving to the US in 2005, she participated in fundraisers like the Children’s Cancer Fund, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS).
Worku is a recipient of many awards including African Diaspora Awards for Community Service, and The African Youth Excellence Honorary Award. She has given speeches and served on panels hosted at prestigious institutions such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, Women4Climate Conference, Columbia University, The United Nations and the Ford Foundation.

Worku attended Columbia University, where she made the Dean’s List and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Development. She currently lives in New York City.