For information only - not an official document.
    27 October 2000
 Secretary-General Announces Appointment of Thoraya Obaid (Saudi Arabia)
To Be Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund

NEW YORK, 25 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a statement made today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

I am pleased today to announce the appointment of Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, a national of Saudi Arabia, as the next Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

As you know, I have been conscious for a while of the need to fill the shoes of Nafis Sadik, who is retiring after having done such a remarkable job in her 13 years in office.  I was fortunate to receive expressions of interest from a number of excellent candidates, and I should like to thank governments who put forward so many good names.  I felt that Nafis should be replaced by a woman, preferably a national from a developing country, who could carry on the remarkable work she has already done and build on her legacy.  Ms. Obaid, with a quarter of a century in the United Nations system and two years within the UNFPA, struck me as the ideal candidate for the job.

Ms. Obaid is an outstanding United Nations professional.  She is fully conversant with the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and with the role of the United Nations in forging the new global population agenda.  I am confident she will be an active advocate of UNFPA's invaluable work.  Her record in working for reproductive rights for women, in promoting choice and improving women's health, is second to none. 

She is conscious of the vital importance of promoting the rights of women and adolescent girls in order to safeguard their reproductive health, and she is aware of the need to focus on the threat posed by HIV/AIDS.  Ms. Obaid has a strong academic background in sociology and cultural anthropology, which she studied in this country, and her work in social affairs in the United Nations has made her sensitive to the culture issues involved in work in this field.

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