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WHO Should Break ‘African-Leadership Glass Ceiling,’ Elect Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus As Next Director General

Project Syndicate: Breaking the WHO’s Glass Ceiling
Peter A. Singer, chief executive officer of Grand Challenges Canada, and Jill W. Sheffield, independent consultant and advocate for women’s health and rights

“…[W]e believe that [Tedros Adhanom] Ghebreyesus is the most qualified person for the job [of WHO director general]. Our endorsement is based on three considerations that are important in any hiring process, and especially for a position such as this: the candidate’s past achievements, leadership style, and the diversity that he or she brings to the table. … [Ghebreyesus’s] is precisely the kind of experience and expertise that the WHO needs in today’s global health environment, and it explains why the African Union has officially endorsed Ghebreyesus’s candidacy. Amazingly, in its almost 70-year history, the WHO has never had a director general from Africa. This fact alone is not a reason to pick a candidate; but in Ghebreyesus’s case, his direct experience working in developing countries makes him uniquely qualified to tackle our toughest global health problems, which tend to hit developing countries the hardest. It is time to break the WHO’s African-leadership glass ceiling. Sustainable development is truly achievable only when leaders of global institutions are from the communities most affected by those institutions’ work. Ghebreyesus’s candidacy presents the WHO with an historic opportunity, which its Executive Board should seize on January 25” (1/23).