UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima has been named among the four finalists selected for this year’s Global Citizen Prize for World Leader.
The award honors a leader in the political or advocacy space who has advocated for and implemented policy changes that have actionably improved the lives of those living in poverty.
This year’s Global Citizen Prize in particular seeks to celebrate leaders who are consistently taking action to shape a world that is fair, just, and equal.
Winnie Byanyima shared the good news on twitter noting that it is “truly humbling” to be counted among such great leaders.
“What an honour to be counted among these great leaders I so admire! Truly humbling. Thank you very much,” Byanyima tweeted.
The other finalists are: Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva; and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Apart from the Global Citizen Prize for World Leader, the Global Citizen Prize ceremony will honor leaders across business, the arts and entertainment, philanthropy, activism as well as among young people and Global Citizens.
Byanyima is a renowned women’s rights activist and political leader and currently serves as the first-ever female Executive Director of UNAIDS, a UN program to regulate and stop the spread of AIDS.
She has belted numerous achievements and voiced major appeals for policy change, the most recent being her call for the Covid-19 vaccine and other future vaccines to be produced at scale and made available at no cost for developing countries “to ensure that no one is left behind in the global response to the pandemic.”
“Health is a human right not a privilege. It must never depend on the money in your pocket, the colour of your skin or the country you were born. We must put people before profits, hold human rights above property rights and put the global good above national interest,” byanyima tweeted recently.
In a subsequent tweet, Byanyima stated that unlike how the response to HIV/AIDS was conducted, “The Covid-19 crisis reminds us that we cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes of the past. We must bridge the gap between research and development of innovative products and ensure access for all. Let’s put people before profit.”
Under her supervision, UNAIDS also collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law to create a collective database of legal documents related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These documents aim to increase transparency and record countries’ responses to the pandemic.
Byanyima is one of 140 signatories of a letter calling for a “people’s vaccine” against COVID-19, joining current and former world leaders in their call for future vaccines to be produced at scale and made available at no cost for developing countries.