United Nations Foundation 2015 Global Leadership Dinner

By Nonie Williams, eHA Director of Business and Strategic Development

The UN Foundation and UN Association of the United States of America 2015 Global Leadership Dinner in New York City was fantastic! It was a pleasure to represent eHA at the event.

I was seated just two tables away from Her Highness Queen Rania of Jordan. Queen Rania was accompanied by the CEO of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, a Kurdish American entrepreneur who was given a Global Leadership Award for his work to improve conditions for international refugees. He is also based in New York and expressed interest in hearing more about our Vulnerable Populations work in Northern Nigeria with respect to Internally Displaced Persons. I spoke to Her Highness briefly about my studies at Yarmouk University in Irbid Jordan.  


I also spoke with Kofi Annan and his wife Nane Maria Annan about eHA’s work with Dr. Ted Carey and the International Potato Center. I mentioned our efforts to develop manufacturing capacity in Northern Nigeria to produce fortified and nutritious foods. I specifically mentioned our Ready To Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs) project in collaboration with the European Union and Nigerian Government. Mrs. Annan spoke quite extensively about the orange fleshed sweetpotato puree as a great product, saying it would be wonderful if eHA could manufacture this puree in addition to RUTFs. Kofi Annan was also impressed to learn that eHA was among the first responders during the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. He spoke in great detail about Ebola Response and was impressed with eHA’s broad mission in Africa.

I was able to speak with Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was given a Global Leadership award for his work in Iran. Dr. Shaheed is an internationally recognized expert on foreign policy, international diplomacy, democratization, and human rights reform, especially in Muslim States. My first round of graduate studies was Middle East Studies and Politics, and it was an honor to take a photo and meet Dr. Shaheed in person. He is also based in New York and would like to hear more about our Vulnerable Populations work in Northern Nigeria with respect to Internally Displaced Persons.

I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Linda Wright, the Senior Medical Officer of the U.S. National Institute of Health Child Health and Development.. She is interested in establishing birth registries in West and Sub Saharan Africa. We will be meeting to discuss potential opportunities in this arena. She was sincerely interested in learning more about eHA’s mission and Global Health Informatics solutions.

I was also seated with Deputy Permanent Representative and Minister Counsellor of Rwanda, Ms. Jeanne d’Arc Byaje. We spoke extensively about life, children, and her experience in Rwanda. She wrote a play about her experience and is interested in making a movie. We shared a taxi uptown after the event. She is based in New York and we will meet to discuss her work and eHA’s mission soon.