Accepting MDG Lifetime Achievement Award

19 September 2010
Author: UNFPA

Excellencies, Heads of States and Governments,

Friends, sisters and brothers from all over the world,

I would like to thank the MDG Awards Committee for this honour that it bestows upon me.

I would like to thank special people in my life - two women and five men.

My mother, who fulfilled her dream through me.

Dr. Nafis Sadik, my predecessor in leading UNFPA, who inspite of all the traditional relationships between the leader and the successor, she remained my mentor, supporter and friend.

I would like to thank my father, Al Sayyed Ahmed Obaid, who believed, as a devout Muslim, that education is empowerment.

The late King Faisal Ibn Abdel Aziz, who believed that education is development and he supported me with a government scholarship.

King Abdullah Ibn Abdel Aziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, who nominated me for the position of Executive Director, believing that women are to be part of the decision making at the highest level.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan for appointing me since he broke the glass ceiling for women, even before me, to reach the highest level in the United Nations.

My dear husband, Mahmoud Abdel Halim Saleh, for supporting me through my 10 years tenure as we lived in two different continents.

Most of all, however, I take this award on behalf of every single staff member in the United Nations Population Fund whose work has made my success possible, and they are represented by my colleagues at table 47 of this ballroom.