Aga Khan scholar and chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, at the Aga Khan University (AKU) East Africa appointed as UNESCO Chair on Youth Leadership in Science, Health, Gender and Education
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has appointed a director of Aga Khan University (AKU East Africa Prof Dr. Marleen Temmerman as its Chair on Youth Leadership in Science, Health, Gender and Education.
In her new role, Prof Temmerman is expected to empower young leaders and contribute to policies and development programmes on health and education amongst the youth in alignment with UNESCO’s priorities and to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She will continue serving as the Chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, at the Aga Khan University (AKU) East Africa.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Evangeline Njoka, Secretary General and CEO, Kenya National Commission for UNESCO said: “The development of networks in higher education, in particular through the UNESCO Chairs as focal points for the development of training and research, brings institutions in different regions closer together, with a view to giving new impetus to higher-education establishments in developing countries. Today, the UNESCO program involves over 700 institutions in 115 countries globally.”
The position of Chair is normally established for an initial period of four years between UNESCO and a university or any other institution of higher education to initiate programmes that advance teaching, learning and research in specific regions.
Accepting the appointment, Prof Marleen Temmerman, Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University East Africa said that the youth is a key target group for UNESCO’s education programme interventions and by equipping them with the right knowledge, skills and values you the empower youth to become the new champions in their areas of interest.
“I am very humbled and honoured to be appointed the AKU- UNESCO Chair, and I am looking forward towards contributing to equitable investment in the next generation of young leaders in Africa,” said Prof Temmerman. “As an institution, Aga Khan University is well positioned to build capacity in the youth, to transfer knowledge into policy and practice, and to strengthen links between universities and other partners, in line with the SDGs.”
Lydia Mathia, Youth Advisor at the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs said: “There is a huge information gap on youth issues and it is our hope the UNESCO Chair will do lots of research on youth-related matters because the Kenyan government urgently needs this data.”
UNESCO’s goal, as outlined in its “Strategy on Education for Health and Well-Being,” is to support the contribution of national education sectors towards promoting better health and well-being for all children and young people across the globe.
Prof Temmerman is a well-recognized global leader in women, child & adolescent health. She brings academic, technical, political, governance and leadership skills to the table as well as diplomacy, advocacy, fundraising, training and clinical expertise. She has a strong track record of working with governments, multilateral organisations, academia, professional bodies, development agencies, private sector, consultancy agencies, civil society, non-governmental and faith based organisations, in a global and changing world. She has also served as a Member of Parliament in Belgium.
In addition, she is a member of the advisory group of the African First Ladies on Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer, chaired by HE the First Lady of Kenya in 2015. Apart from her role as the Director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, she is also the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aga Khan University Hospital.