News

UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Wins Jonathan Mann Award for AIDS Work

19 November 2001
Author: UNFPA

Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Mpule Kwelagobe, has received the Jonathan Mann Award for her work on HIV/AIDS, at a ceremony in Chicago in December. Even before she started working on HIV/AIDS with the UNFPA, Ms. Kwelagobe campaigned against the scourge as Miss Universe 1999.

UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Mpule Kwelagobe visits an AIDS patient in Botswana.  Photo: Mark Edwards

Three others received the Award, which is named after Jonathan Mann, who headed AIDS policy at the World Health Organization (WHO). He died in a 1998 plane crash. Other recipients were the former director of the United States White House Office of National AIDS Policy (1997-2000), Sandra Thurman; an official of the European Commission, Lieve Fransen; and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

"Jonathan would have been especially happy to learn that one of the recipients of the award this year is Mpule Kwelagobe," said Nicholas Dodd, a former colleague of Mr. Mann and Chief of the Inter-Country Programmes and Field Support Branch of the UNFPA's Technical Support Division. "She has been a wonderful role model in speaking out about HIV/AIDS, particularly as it affects young people all over the world."

Winners of the Jonathan Mann Award for their anti-AIDS work: UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Kwelagobe; and Principal Administrator, European Commission HIV programme, Lieve Fransen.Photo: Abubakar Dungus

Former United States President, William Clinton, too, received an award for his work against HIV/AIDS during his eight-year presidency. In an acceptance speech relayed from a giant video screen, former President Clinton that Americans should care about the prevention of HIV/AIDS because it was in their national interest. He called on leaders and others in Illinois to support programmes on HIV/AIDS and ask their Representatives in Congress to support efforts in the war against HIV/AIDS, including the Global AIDS and Health Fund.

The awards were given by the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, which states that it is a non-profit medical association representing more than 10,800 doctors and other health-care professional members in about 80 countries.Ms. Kwelagobe was introduced as UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador in February 2000 at a United Nations press conference in New York. She has spoken on HIV/AIDS at various United Nations conferences, helped launch AIDS programmes in, for example, Botswana, and addressed parliamentarians and policy makers. Most recently, she spoke at the Fourth World Youth Forum of the United Nations System, held in August in Dakar. She also spoke at the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, held in Brussels in May.

--Abubakar Dungus