Press Release: Chair of WLP Board of Directors Earns 2015 United Nations Population Award


Press Release: Chair of Women’s Learning Partnership Board of Directors to be awarded 2015 United Nations Population Award in the individual category

Media contact:
Kimberly Schor, Phone: +1-301-654-2774; Email: wlp[at]

Bethesda, MD — Dr. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, current Chair of Women’s Learning Partnership’s (WLP) Board of Directors and a former Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has won the 2015 United Nations Population Award in the individual laureate category. The United Nations established the award in 1981 and is presented annually “for the most outstanding contribution to the awareness of population questions or to their solutions.” The award is scheduled to be presented at the United Nations in New York City on June 26.

Dr. Thoraya Obaid (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) was selected as a 2015 laureate “in recognition of her outstanding dedication and commitment to raising awareness of population issues, with a particular focus on the rights and empowerment of women, girls and young people, including successfully advocating for the expansion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to address maternal health and save the lives of women; for her pioneering leadership in promoting issues related to sexual and reproductive health in a culturally sensitive manner in conformity with internationally recognized human rights; and for her visionary leadership in including the voices of young people and institutionalizing their role in the work of the United Nations as well as for strongly supporting the establishment of an international network of youth advocates for sexual and reproductive health,” according to the UNPFA information 2015 award program notes.

Dr. Obaid led the UNFPA from 2001 to 2010. As UNFPA Executive Director, she introduced a focus on culture to the Fund’s development work, linking gender, universal values of human rights and values of the human worth promoted by all religions and found in all cultures. She is Chair of WLP’s Board of Directors. Obaid also holds the distinction of being one of 30 women to be appointed as full members 2013-2016 to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Parliament (Shura Council) for the first time in that country’s history. A recipient of numerous awards, in 2004 Forbes named her among the world’s 50 most powerful Arab women. Since her retirement, Dr. Obaid has been residing in Saudi Arabia.

The Award Committee for the United Nations Population Award, which made the selections, is chaired by the Czech Ambassador to the United Nations, Edita Hrdá. Other members include Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, Grenada, Jamaica, Qatar, Tanzania, Nigeria and Pakistan. United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin are ex-officio members.

Past laureates selected by the Committee included individuals and organizations, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Dr. Mahmoud Fathalla, Dr. Allen Rosenfeld, the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and the Population Council.

About Women’s Learning Partnership

WLP is a non-profit international women’s rights organization comprised of 20 autonomous women’s rights CSOs and dedicated to training and supporting women in the Global South, primarily in transitioning and developing societies, to become leaders and advocates for a just, peaceful world where women’s full human rights are realized and protected. Through this partnership we promote universal human rights, advance democracy, and strengthen civil society, and empower and transform women and youth to harness their tremendous potential as leaders in their families, communities, and societies for a more equitable world. Over the past decade, WLP’s programs and training materials, published in twenty languages, have reached thousands of women in over forty countries, strengthening local organizations to become self-sustaining and to empower women’s movements across the globe. 



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