Feature story

UNAIDS regional director for west and central Africa awarded with the Legion d’Honneur

06 December 2011

Professor Patrice Debre presenting the Legion d’Honneur award to the UNAIDS regional director for west and central Africa Dr Meskerem Grunitzky-Bekele.
Credit: UNAIDS/P.Wiggers

The UNAIDS regional director for west and central Africa Dr Meskerem Grunitzky-Bekele was awarded with the Legion d’Honneur for lifetime achievement in the AIDS response on 6 December in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This prestigious award, is the highest French decoration,  and was presented to her by Professor Patrice Debre—an expert in immunology and Ambassador for the Fight Against HIV and Communicable Diseases, French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

As UNAIDS Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Dr Grunitzky-Bekele has mobilized leaders at the highest level to maintain AIDS on the political agenda. Furthermore, she has been a driving force in promoting the work of the civil society and in particular that of the people living with HIV.  She has also worked on the establishment of valuable key partnerships with African regional institutions such as the African Union, the Regional Economic Commissions, the Organization of African First Ladies and the Society for AIDS in Africa as well as other international development partners.

Dr Meskerem Grunitzky-Bekele completed her medical studies at the Université d’Aix Marseille, in France and specialized in Tropical Diseases. Widely experienced as a researcher, educator and administrator, Dr Grunitzky-Bekele was responsible for the establishment of UNAIDS at regional level for the first time in Africa.