22 January 2007

Ethiopia: Azeb Receives Award for Commitment, Efficient Leadership in HIV/Aids Fight

Addis Ababa — First Lady Azeb Mesfin was given the fifth annual Legacy of a Dream Award for her commitment and efficient leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Washington DC.

Honourable Azeb Mesfin received the award January 15, 2007 at an annual national ceremony,which is observed annually to commemorate the works and life of the famous civil rights activist and leader Dr. Martin Luther King.She was honoured for showing in practice that empowering women for leadership is mandatory for the success of HIV/AIDS prevention.

At the ceremony held at the John F. Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, First Ladies of Zambia and Rwanda have also won the award along with Azeb for their anti-HIV/AIDS efforts.

George Town University President and Sponsor of the Award,John J. DeGioia, said on the occasion that the three first ladies won the award for their relentless struggle against the stigma and discrimination of people living with the virus.

Azeb has expressed her gratitude in the name of the people of Ethiopia and the Coalition of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS and noted that as mothers we understand that it is our personal and collective responsibility to redeem children from any type of risk.

She further stressed that their message is "treat children as our children and the victory registered in fighting HIV/AIDS should secure our existence.

Speaking about the Ethiopian Coalition of Women against HIV/AIDS, Azeb noted that the coalition has carried out several activities by working closely with community leaders to ensure the rights of women,fight harmful traditional practices and HIV/AIDS.

Following the award ceremony, Azeb and Health Minister Dr. Tewodros Adhanom attended a discussion on HIV/AIDS held in the Headquarters of the World Bank in Washington D.C.

Opening the meeting, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz congratulated Azeb and said: "Africans are proud of you and we also feel proud that we are your partner."

The John Thomson Legacy of a Dream Award is an award offered to individuals who make remarkable contributions to the realization of Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of social changes and respect of civil rights, it was learnt.

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