|IWHC's 2013 Annual Gala|
The International Women's Health Coalition held its annual gala at The Pierre in New York City on April 8, 2013. Nearly 300 friends and supporters joined IWHC in honoring Christiane Amanpour for being a "champion for women and girls." IWHC also presented the first Joan B. Dunlop Award in honor of its first president.
During her remarks, Christiane Amanpour said that she has featured women and girls in her reporting for the past three decades because women and children "are the last minority who can have their rights trampled on... with virtual impunity." She stressed that the need for IWHC and women's rights activists to continue the fight is as strong as ever.
"It's amazing to me that in Pakistan and elsewhere, women are still having acid thrown in their faces. It's against the law, but it's still happening," said Amanpour. "It's amazing to me that in India, in wherever we look these days including in the United States of America, that gang rape continues. It's against the law, but it continues and why? Because there is not enough of a wave to stand up and say, 'This is not all right.'"
She continued, "As long as one case is not prosecuted, as long as one incident goes with impunity, it will never stop. And that's why this work of IWHC, among all the other things it does, is so important."
At the gala, IWHC also presented the first Joan B. Dunlop Award to Adenike Esiet, Executive Director of Action Health Incorporated (AHI) in Lagos, Nigeria. IWHC created the award in tribute to the extraordinary legacy of Joan Dunlop. Presented annually, the award recognizes deserving activists working to advance the sexual and reproductive rights and health of women and girls in developing countries.
IWHC selected Esiet to receive the first annual award in honor of her outstanding efforts to advance the health and rights of adolescents in Nigeria. Since 1989, she has contributed to building AHI from an idea into a vibrant organization that combines community-based programming with national policy advocacy for sexual health and rights. Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, presented Esiet with the award.
Dr. Osotimehin credited Esiet for developing the country's comprehensive sexuality program, noting that this was no small task in a very complex country.
"When people talk to me about our inability to talk about sexuality education, when they talk to me about culture, and when they talk to me about tradition, I tell them there is nowhere in the world where we cannot break through this," he said. "It requires us to be humble enough, it requires dialogue with people, it requires us to respect the space of other people, and I think that’s what Adenike did. And that's what has brought her here today."
Esiet noted that "the clinic that IWHC supported us to establish in 1994 still functions in Lagos today. Every year, at least 3,000 young people get to access services in this clinic. And people come from all over Nigeria. Public health practitioners come to learn how to serve young people."
"This award is really invigorating," continued Esiet. "It's a strong reminder that we cannot sheath our swords just yet. There's still unfinished business with making sexuality education comprehensive and more accessible to young people across the world, especially girls. The need is even greater now more than ever for young people, especially girls, to be able to access sexual and reproductive health services."
Chair: Marlene Hess
Vice Chairs: Alexander M. Farman-Farmaian, Catherine A. Gellert, Françoise Girard, David Knott, Susan Nitze, Marnie S. Pillsbury, Diana L. Taylor, Ann Unterberg, Maureen White
Christiane Amanpour is CNN’s chief international correspondent and anchor of Amanpour, a nightly foreign affairs program on CNN International. In addition, she is the global affairs anchor for ABC News, providing international analysis of important issues of the day for ABC News programs and platforms, and anchoring primetime documentaries on international subjects. Previously, she also anchored the ABC News program This Week. Her illustrious career in journalism spans three decades, beginning at CNN in 1983 as an entry-level assistant on the network’s international assignment desk in Atlanta. She worked her way up to correspondent in CNN’s New York bureau before becoming an international correspondent in 1990. Since that time, Amanpour has reported from every major world news event and hotspot, including Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, the Palestinian territories, Iran, Sudan, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Egypt, Libya, throughout Europe, and the United States.
During her combined tenures at CNN and ABC News, she has interviewed most of the world’s top leaders, including Iranian Presidents Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the presidents of Afghanistan, and Sudan, as well as Moammar Gadhafi and Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring. After the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Amanpour was the first international correspondent to interview British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Amanpour has earned every major television journalism award including an inaugural Television Academy Honor, eleven News and Documentary Emmy® Awards, four George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, an Edward R. Murrow award, a Giants of Broadcasting honor from the Library of American Broadcasting, and nine honorary degrees. She is a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Honorary Citizen of the City of Sarajevo for her “personal contribution to spreading the truth.”
DR. BABATUNDE OSOTIMEHIN
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin is the current Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Before this appointment, Dr. Osotimehin was Nigeria’s Minister of Health. Prior to that, he was Director-General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS, which coordinates HIV and AIDS work in a country of more than 150 million people. Dr. Osotimehin qualified as a doctor from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1972, and received a doctorate in medicine in 1979 from the University of Birmingham, England. He was appointed Professor at the University of Ibadan in 1980 and headed the Department of Clinical Pathology before being elected Provost of the College of Medicine in 1990. Years later, he served in several organizations, including as Chair of the National Action Committee on AIDS, from 2002 to 2007. Dr. Osotimehin has participated in the Cairo Population Conference, Beijing Women’s Conference, and United Nations special sessions on AIDS. He received the Nigerian national honor of Officer of the Order of the Niger in December 2005. His interests include youth and gender, within the context of reproductive health and rights.
Adenike Esiet, a sociologist and youth health advocate, is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Action Health Incorporated (AHI), based in Lagos. Since 1989, she has contributed to building AHI from an idea into a vibrant organization that combines community-based programming with national policy advocacy for sexual health and rights. Over the last two decades, Esiet has leveraged her interdisciplinary background in sociology and journalism to engender national consciousness and action on the poor status of adolescent health. Under her guidance and leadership, AHI helped develop Nigeria’s first National Sexuality Education Curriculum in 2001. Esiet has served on WHO’s Gender Advisory Panel and the National AIDS and STD Control Programme’s Technical Advisory Committee, and is currently a member of the National Adolescent Health Working Group and the International Working Group on Sexuality and Social Policy.