UNITED NATIONS, New York — An Iranian demographer, Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi, and an African research institution, L’Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographique, were announced today as winners of the 2011 United Nations Population Award. The Award is given annually to individuals and institutions for outstanding work in population and in improving the health of individuals.
The Award Committee, chaired by Egypt’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maged A. Abdelaziz, consists of 10 United Nations Member States, with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, as its secretariat. The Award is scheduled to be presented on 16 June at a ceremony at the United Nations.
Mr. Abbasi-Shavazi, Chairman of the Division of Population Research at the University of Tehran since 2001, has a long career in teaching, demographic research and advisory and policy services, according to information submitted to the Award Committee. His focus is on population and development, reproductive health and fertility, immigration and refugees. He has contributed to the understanding of the dynamics of Iran’s fertility decline, which showed that improving women’s education and status and their access to reproductive health care has led to smaller family sizes.
Mr. Abbasi-Shavazi, who holds a PhD in Demography from the Australian National University, has promoted the view that social, economic and cultural differences among countries are more important than religion as explanations of fertility differentials, according to information submitted to the Committee. He has also been a bridge between international demographers and Iranian scholars to study the rapid Iranian fertility decline.
Established in 1972, IFORD has been the leading institution for training, research and technical assistance in the field of population, serving 26 countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean, according to information submitted to the Committee. Its mandate focuses on offering technical support and training to African teams in the field of population and development, and on conducting research relevant to the understanding of African population issues.
IFORD, which is based in Cameroon, has a continuous programme of research in sexual and reproductive health, gender and demographic issues, migration, and the linkages between population, the environment and development. It assists African countries in conducting their population censuses, establishing local research activities, providing local training, creating and managing databases, and advising in the formulation and evaluation of population policies. It has so far trained more than 500 African demographers.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council elects countries to the Award Committee for three-year terms. Currently, these members are: Bangladesh, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Norway and the United Republic of Tanzania. The United Nations Secretary-General and the UNFPA Executive Director are ex-officio members.
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