Professor Nana Poku appointed Chair of Frontline AIDS in ‘exciting renewal’ of board of trustees

Professor Nana Poku, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Frontline AIDS board of trustees.

One of the world’s leading experts on the political economy of Africa’s HIV and AIDS epidemic, Professor Poku is one of four new trustees to be appointed at the organisation’s March board meeting. He will formally take over as Chair in June.

From 2003-2006, Professor Poku was tasked by then Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan to lead the Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa (CHGA) at the Economic Commission for Africa. Since 2007, he has advised a number of African governments on HIV and AIDS, and over the past 15 years has worked in various capacities with a number of global bodies, including the World Health Organization, World Bank, United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS.

The other new trustee appointments are:

  • Dr Joan Nyanyuki, Executive Director at the African Child Policy Forum
  • Micheal Ighodaro, Program Manager: Implementation Advocacy at the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
  • Dr Purnima Mane, Governor at the International Development Research Centre

A series of retirements and planned retirements from the board in 2020 and 2021 prompted a six-month recruitment drive, with a strong focus on finding trustees with direct experience of living and working in Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia. The recruitment drive was led by international executive search firm Perrett Laver.

Christine Stegling, Executive Director at Frontline AIDS, said:

“These appointments represent an exciting renewal of our board and I am very much looking forward to working with our new board members. We were particularly keen to recruit trustees rooted in the regions where our partners are based, and we are pleased that a number of exceptionally well qualified individuals who meet those criteria will be joining us this year.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Freeman, long-time trustee, supporter and friend of our organisation, for kindly stepping forward to hold the role of Interim Chair since July 2020. Peter will continue to hold the role until June and we are sincerely grateful for the excellent support he has provided throughout the interim period.”

Professor Nana Poku said:

“I am delighted to have joined Frontline AIDS as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Now more than ever the world needs re-energised and refocused commitment to eliminating AIDS as a global public health threat.

“I am clear that the Board can help consolidate Frontline AIDS’ already considerable standing and achievements, enlarge its strategic vision, maximize its impacts and inspire others. I am proud to have joined this outstanding organisation and look forward to the work we will undertake together.”

Frontline AIDS is the world’s largest partnership of civil society organisations working to end HIV and AIDS. First established in 1993 as the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, the partnership was relaunched as Frontline AIDS in 2019 in a bid to reinvigorate awareness of and support for its mission.

New trustee appointments:

Dr Joan Nyanyuki began her career as a medical doctor, working with survivors of torture and sexual violence before transitioning into human rights and gender equality work. An advocate for women, children and survivors of violence in Africa, she has a wealth of progressive experience in human rights research and advocacy, community mobilization and organizational leadership through her past roles as Amnesty International’s Regional Director in East Africa and The Great Lakes Region and as Executive Director of Coalition on Violence against Women and Independent Medico-Legal Unit.

Micheal Ighodaro is a thought leader, public speaker, global human rights advocate and corporate inclusion & culture advisor on race, immigration and orientation equality. He is currently the Program Manager at AVAC while attending the New School. He has also worked with Housing Works and Outright Action International, first as a fellow and now as co-chair of the Board of Directors. He was awarded by President Obama in 2015 as a Champion of Change.

Dr Purnima Mane is the former president and CEO of Pathfinder International. She has served in a range of senior leadership roles in multilateral organisations, including UNFPA, UNAIDS, WHO, and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Purnima currently serves on several boards including the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Bay Area Global Health Alliance, and the Hesperian Health Foundation.


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