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Sierra Leonean Kandeh Yumkella recognized with UN Global Leadership award; dedicates it to UNIDO Staff

Sierra Leonean Kandeh Yumkella recognized with UN Global Leadership award; dedicates it to UNIDO Staff

NEW YORK, 17 October 2012 – Newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (SRSG) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) and current Director General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella, is the recipient of the prestigious United Nations Global Leadership Award.  (Photo: Kandeh Yumkella delivers his acceptance remarks)

The award which salutes leaders from a variety of sectors for their global leadership and support for the UN was presented to the Sierra Leonean born Yumkella in recognition of his outstanding work on advancing sustainable energy for all, poverty reduction, the Millennium Development Goals and efforts to reduce the impact of climate change. Former US president Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg are past honorees.

In accepting the award, Yumkella noted that he was deeply humbled and honored to be recognized for his work around the world on behalf of the UN family and to serve the Secretary-General as a leader for his important global effort – Sustainable Energy for All.

“I am ready to take this path-breaking initiative to the next level. We will continue to work with all key stakeholders to achieve sustainable energy for all and drive real action on the ground — action that transforms lives, communities, economies and the environment. The challenge now is to convert commitments to kilowatt hours for people everywhere,” said Yumkella.

Monique Coleman hands the award to Dr Kandeh K Yumkella

“I wish to dedicate this award to my UNIDO staff. They are at the forefront in creating prosperity for people around the world through our work in tackling poverty through productive activities. More than any other multilateral organization, UNIDO has been at the helm of the industry and environment nexus for many years now,” said he.

Dr Kandeh K Yumkella with (l) his wife Philomena, and (r) daughter Binta at the ceremony

Present at the star studded affair, with all the pomp and pageantry befitting the nearly 500 diplomats, policy makers, UN supporters and colleagues, business leaders were Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and wife, his predecessor, former Ghanaian UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan and wife, and United States Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice. Others included Ted Turner, UN Foundation Founder and Chairman, UNF President, Timothy E. Wirth and UNA-USA Executive Director, Patrick Madden.

South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was honored for his strong leadership as an advocate for human rights and global health, as well as his campaigning against poverty, racism and sexism. John C. Whiteman, former Chairman of the United Nations Association and former US Deputy Secretary of State was also recognized for his dedicated service to the United Nations and UN causes and Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on Syria and a leading UN independent human rights expert for his more than 30 years of work in support of human rights both at the United Nations and the Inter-American systems.

Yumkella holds the unique distinction as the first Sierra Leonean in the UN system to have been recognized with this high honor. This is in addition to being the first Sierra Leonean to be Chief Executive of a UN Development Agency as well as a member of the UN’s Chief Executive Board and the first Sub-Saharan African Director General of UNIDO.

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