Oprah Winfrey lauds PM Ardern, urges all women to 'channel inner Jacinda'

She's interviewed countless politicians and is close with the Obamas, but Oprah Winfrey says she's never seen leadership like our Prime Minister's. 

On Wednesday (local time), the former talkshow host and billionaire philanthropist delivered a powerful keynote speech at the 10th annual Women in the World summit in New York City.

In response to the summit's central question - 'Can Women Save the World?' - Winfrey told the enormous crowd she'd been blown away by Jacinda Ardern's response to the Christchurch terror attack.

"I've never seen such leadership," she said.

"The Prime Minister is a woman who has the courage of her convictions, and she's set a global standard in leadership with her response."

Ardern attracted global praise for her compassion for the 50 Muslim victims of the March 15 shooting, and for her reiteration that "they are us".

"Jacinda Ardern projected peace and goodness, and the Arab world projected it right back for all of us to take in," Winfrey told the summit. "And suddenly we saw that the other didn't seem that much different from us."

Winfrey praised Ardern's decision to wear a hijab to meet with the victims' families, which inspired thousands of other Kiwi women to do the same in solidarity.

"Fifty murders that could have brought even more destruction instead lead to a portrait of the Prime Minister displayed across Dubai's tallest building with the word 'peace' shining above it, in English as well as in Arabic."

She contrasted New Zealand's immediate ban on semi-automatic weapons with the US gun culture that is still baked into its culture.

"We live in a country that has somehow confused cruel with funny, serious with intelligent, attitude with belief, personal freedom with stockpiling assault weapons, and what is moral with what is legal," she said.

"It is time for women in the world to set the agenda. We need to make that message a positive one. Let's make it ambitious, and inclusive, and brimming with hope.

"So here, women in the world, we have to make the choice every single day to channel our own inner Jacindas."

Winfrey's speech was enthusiastically received by the audience, who clapped and cheered at her endorsement of New Zealand leadership.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: