Winnie Byanyima: 7 things to know about the Ugandan diplomat taking the top job at UNAIDS

Winnie Byanyima (Oxfam International)
  • Winnie Byanyima is the former Executive Director of Oxfam International, a globally recognised non-profit, charity organisation
  • She was the only female candidate shortlisted for the position and beat out four other candidates
  • She is keyed in to UNAIDS goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030

A Ugandan diplomat and aeronautical engineer, Winnie Byanyima, has been appointed to head the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the NGO announced Wednesday, August 14th, 2019.

Prior to her appointment, she had been the Executive Director of Oxfam International since 2013.

She replaced Malian-born Michel Sidibé, who stepped down in December 2018, after being accused of not taking sexual harassment allegations against one of his Deputies seriously.

1. She holds two degrees: An advanced degree in Mechanical Engineering (Energy Conservation and Environment) from the Cranfield Institute of Technology, and an Undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Manchester

2. She is trilingual and speaks English, Kiswahili, and some French.

3. She will be the first woman to serve as Director of UNAIDS in its 25-year history 

4. Before she took over at Oxfam, she was Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for seven years.

5. She was one of the founding members of the Forum for Democratic Change party (FDC), the main opposition party in Uganda.

6. She was elected to three terms and served for eleven years as a member of Parliament in the National Assembly of Uganda.

7. In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her large Garden in Kasangati, a town located in the central region of Uganda.


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