Aga Khan University don named Unesco youth chair

Kenya National Commission for UNESCO Secretary-General and CEO Dr Evangeline Njoka (left) congratulates Prof Marleen Temmerman (right) on her appointment as the UNESCO Chair on Youth Leadership. [Courtesy]

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has appointed Prof Marleen Temmerman to chair its youth leadership in science, health, gender and education docket.

66-year-old Prof Temmerman, a career gynaecologist, is currently the director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University (AKU) East Africa.

She also chairs the Obstetrics and Gynaecology docket at the university.

The UN agency said she will bring ‘academic, technical, political, governance and leadership skills to the table as well as diplomacy, advocacy, fundraising, training and clinical expertise’.

In her new role, she is tasked with empowering young leaders and contributing to policies and development programmes on health and education amongst the youth.

“I am very humbled and honoured to be appointed the AKU- UNESCO Chair, and I am looking forward towards contributing to equitable investment in the next generation of young leaders in Africa,” said Prof Temmerman.

She added: “As an institution, Aga Khan University is well positioned to build capacity in the youth, to transfer knowledge into policy and practice, and to strengthen links between universities and other partners, in line with the SDGs”.

State officials who spoke during her acceptance ceremony on Monday underscored her need to focus on youth-related research as the government had inadequate data.

The position of chair is normally established for an initial period of four years between UNESCO and a university or any other institution of higher education to initiate programmes that advance teaching, learning and research in specific regions

The UNESCO program currently involves over 700 institutions in 115 countries.