UNITED NATIONS, New York—An academic institution affiliated with the Al-Azhar University in Egypt and a public health advocate from Uganda were announced yesterday as winners of the 2013 United Nations Population Award. The Award is given annually to individuals and institutions for outstanding work in population and in improving public health.
The International Islamic Centre for Population Studies and Research is attached to the Al-Azhar University—one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the Muslim world. Founded in 1975, the Centre conducts population studies and research in Muslim countries and is recognized by Muslim communities as a credible source of information on population issues. It also provides accurate information about Islam and dispels misconceptions, particularly regarding population policies and programmes that can be adopted in Muslim countries.
The Centre, which integrates population research, family planning and bioethics, works in all parts of the Islamic world, as well as amongst Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries. It has also been active in efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation/cutting, according to documents submitted to the Award Committee.
Dr. Jotham Musinguzi is a strong advocate of reproductive health as a major component of social and economic development. He has been Regional Director of Partnership in Population and Development (PPD) for Africa since 2007, and has served in a variety of other public health positions, according to documents submitted to the Committee.
Dr. Musinguzi played a major role in drafting the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994, and was actively involved in negotiations on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He also played a major role in preparing the Maputo Plan of Action, which was adopted by the African Union in 2006 to help achieve the MDGs in Africa, and has, more recently, contributed to the success of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.
The Award Committee, chaired by the Czech Republic Ambassador to the United Nations, Edita Hrdá, consists of 10 United Nations Member States, with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, as a secretariat. Committee members are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and serve for three-year terms. The current members are: Bangladesh, the Czech Republic, Côte d'Ivoire , Denmark, Grenada, Jamaica, Qatar, United Republic of Tanzania, Nigeria and Pakistan. The United Nations Secretary-General and the UNFPA Executive Director are ex-officio members.
The Award is scheduled to be presented during a 28 June ceremony at the United Nations.