Humanitarian activist Winnie Byanyima quits Oxfam, appointed to head UNAIDS

Humanitarian activist Winnie Byanyima quits Oxfam, appointed to head UNAIDS
Winnie Byanyima has been appointed to lead UNAIDS

Winnie Byanyima is the new Executive Director of the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). This ends her seven-year term as head of Oxfam International.

According to UNAIDS, Byanyima was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres following a comprehensive selection process that involved a search committee constituted by members of the UNAIDS programme coordinating board.

“I am honored to be joining UNAIDS as the Executive Director at such a critical time in the response to HIV,” Byanyima told UNAIDs shortly after her appointment.

Adding that, “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.”

Byanyima has previously served as the director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Programme and also as director of Women and Development at the African Union Commission.

At Oxfam, Byanyima led strong advocacy against inequality in the world, bringing to light how much wealth is owned by the top 1% compared to the majority of the world population. She strongly called on World leaders to act on this distortion.

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Winnie Byanyima, 60, who was a Ugandan legislator for 11 years and has worked on women’s and development issues for international organizations, 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.

She is married to Dr. Kizza Besigye, Uganda’s main opposition leader and four-time presidential candidate in Uganda. They have a son, Anselm Besigye.