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Michel Sidibé


Michel Sidibé, Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Mr. President, I have the honor of presenting Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, and a leader in the global war to eradicate HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Sidibé, you have devoted your life and career to improving the lives of others, dating back to your work with the nomadic Tuareg people in your native Mali. Since then you have spent 25 years in service to people in Third World and emerging countries, including 14 years overseeing UNICEF programs to battle poverty and disease across African nations, including Burundi, Swaziland, Uganda and Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here at Clark our mantra is “Challenge Convention. Change Our World.” You live those words every day in your role as executive director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, where your mission is to see this modern-day plague wiped out through a people-centered approach. You are committed to transforming UNAIDS into a results-oriented organization and to supporting countries to achieve the bold new targets outlined in the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. Your end goal with UNAIDS is no less than zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths, and you have publicly called for the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015.

In your “spare” time, you serve on Global Board of Directors of Grassroot Soccer, a non-profit organization committed to preventing new HIV infections in Africa.

Mr. Sidibé, you join us today not only as a man of vision and accomplishment, but also as someone with strong ties to Clark University. Your son is a Clark graduate, and you were directly involved with Clark’s International Development, Community, and Environment Department through its partnership with the aids2031 project, both before and after you assumed the executive director’s post with UNAIDS.

Your goals for advancing public health are ambitious, your advocacy is unyielding, and the fruits of your leadership are inevitable.

Mr. President, on behalf of the Trustees, faculty, students and staff of Clark University, I request that the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, be conferred on Michel Sidibé.