16 January 2013

Uganda: Winnie Byanyima Takes On Oxfam Top Job

Renowned Ugandan activist Winnie Byanyima has been appointed executive director of Oxfam International - a role that provides strategic direction and co-ordination for the worldwide confederation of Oxfam affiliates.

Ms Byanyima who takes over in April will replace Jeremy Hobbs, who has served as Executive Director of Oxfam International since 2001.

Oxfam works in 94 countries to find effective ways to end the injustice of poverty, through its 17 affiliates.

Until recently, Byanyima, the wife to Uganda's opposition leader Col. Kizza Besigye, was director of the gender team of the UNDP, working on crucial issues of development, climate change and economic policy through the prism of gender considerations.

A statement issued by Oxfam International yesterday said she was selected after a global search, led by the chairman of Oxfam International, Keith Johnston, with the help of an international executive search firm.

"In an outstanding field of candidates, Winnie stood out as exemplifying Oxfam's values and ambitions," Keith Johnston said.

He added: "She brings clear vision fired by her commitment to social justice, the toughness of an able negotiator and campaigner, and leadership based on her capacity to inspire and convene, in many circles, cultures and levels."

Byanyima said: "The world is witnessing a shift in global development, growing inequality, volatility on many levels and mounting aspirations and impatience for change."

"Oxfam understands how this changing context means it must be strategic and adaptable in its mission to overcome poverty and reinforce peoples' rights.

"I am very proud to be invited to lead such an important organisation as Oxfam, with its passionate commitment to social justice."

Before joining UNDP, Byanyima served at the African Union in Addis Ababa.

She previously served as a Ugandan legislator and an official at the NRM secretariat. She also served at the UNESCO before joining elective politics.

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