The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has named Winifred ‘Winnie’ Karagwa Byanyima as the next Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The Ugandan leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building has been Executive Director of Oxfam International since May 1, 2013.
Byanyima fills the post left by Michel Sidibe (UNAIDS 2009-19) who is now minister of health in his native Mali.
“I am honoured to be joining UNAIDS as the Executive Director at such a critical time in the response to HIV,” said Ms Byanyima. “The end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach, but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. Working with all its partners, UNAIDS must continue to speak up for the people left behind and champion human rights as the only way to end the epidemic,” said Byanyima after being appointed.
She began her career as a champion of marginalized communities and women 30 years ago as a member of parliament in the National Assembly of Uganda. In 2004, she became the Director of Women and Development at the African Union Commission, working on the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, an international human rights instrument that became an important tool for reducing the disproportionate effect of HIV on the lives of women in Africa.
Byanyima holds an advanced degree in mechanical engineering (in energy conservation and the environment) from the Cranfield Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Manchester.