Eminent Advisory Board

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AWEPA is being guided by the constructive and inspiring advice of the Eminent Advisory Board. This Board meets annually to discuss the policy and programmes of AWEPA and to make suggestions for future priorities regarding developments in Africa. The board members are appointed for an indefinite period of time. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Honorary Chair)

A theologian and educator, Archbishop Desmond Tutu served as Archbishop of Cape Town and Head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Tutu received the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for the role he played as a pioneer of peaceful resistance methods in the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa. He now plays a leading role in The Elders: an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Ms. Graça Machel (Chairperson)

Ms. Graça Machel has campaigned as a global advocate for war-affected children and serves as spokesperson for the Global Movement for Children. Following the independence struggle, Machel served as Education Minister of Mozambique. She is currently a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism, a system introduced by the African Union to help countries improve their governance.

Ms. Mary Robinson

Ms. Mary Robinson was a member of the Irish Parliament from 1969 to 1989 and became a member of AWEPA in the 1980s. She was elected the first woman President of Ireland (1990-1997) and served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002). A human rights advocate, Robinson serves as President and Founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative.

His Excellency Mohamed A. Sahnoun

H.E. Mohamed Sahnoun, the former Ambassador of Algeria to the United Nations, to the United States and to Morocco, has served as Special Representative for the Great Lakes region of Africa since 1997. Sahnoun is also a member of the Special Advisory Group of the War-torn Societies Project and served as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict from 1999 to 2002.

Dr. Jan Nico Scholten

Dedicated to humanitarian solidarity, Dr. Jan Nico Scholten was Mayor and Chairman of a District Council before joining the Dutch Parliament (house and senate) as well as serving as a member of the Benelux-Parliament and the Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 1984 he took the initiative in the founding of what is now called AWEPA. He served as Executive and non-Executive President for AWEPA's first 25 years and is still actively involved. He has received awards from the United Nations, various African countries and the Queen of the Netherlands honouring his commitment to human dignity.

Prof. Albert Tevoedjre

Professor Albert Tevoedjre has been the Special Envoy for the United Nations Secretary-General to the Ivory Coast since 2003. Before his current responsibility, Tevoedjre chaired the Commission on the "Millennium for Africa" Project, which completed its report in May 2002. Tevoedjre also played a prominent role as “Head of Government” in Benin. A political scientist by training, his book “Poverty, Wealth of Mankind” was awarded the "Prix de la vie économique". 


Prof. Ruth Oniang'o

As a former Member of the Kenyan Parliament (2003-2007), a food and nutrition scientist and through her work with various development agencies, including the United Nations , Professor Ruth Oniang’o  advocates to reduce poverty and hunger in Africa and has dedicated a great deal of her time  over the past three decades to poverty and hunger eradication, nutrition, health and gender issues and restoration of human dignity.. She is the Founder and executive director of the Rural Outreach Africa, a non-profit development organization that empowers women through agriculture and entrepreneurial projects and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development (AJFAND). She is a strong advocate of good governance as the only answer to equity, and ensuring all realize their rights to basic services including food security.
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