LOS ANGELES–(August 14, 2019)–AHF lauded today a historic decision by the United Nations Secretary-General to appoint Winnie Byanyima as the new Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Byanyima, who is a prominent Ugandan diplomat and humanitarian, will be the first woman Executive Director to lead the agency since its launch in 1996.
Byanyima’s appointment comes in the wake of a leadership transition at UNAIDS which was precipitated by the departure of its previous Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, following an alleged cover-up of a sexual harassment investigation involving senior agency staff and reports of abuse of office during his tenure.
“We salute Secretary-General Guterres for appointing a strong woman leader to this vital post to get UNAIDS back on track with its mission,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “We look forward to working with her and starting a new chapter for UNAIDS.”
In addition to her work as the Executive Director of Oxfam International, Byanyima has the distinction of being the first female Ugandan to become an aeronautical engineer. She has served as Uganda’s ambassador to France, co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015 and was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
“AHF first publicly called on the UNAIDS PCB [Programme Coordinating Board] to appoint a highly-qualified woman leader to replace Michel Sidibé in April of 2018. We are delighted to see this has finally happened,” said Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa Bureau Chief. “With young women and girls being disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa, a strong UNAIDS leader can inspire them to pursue their dreams and stay healthy. We are excited and look forward to working with a new and transforming UNAIDS.”