The Panel’s Co-Chairs are the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia.
The Independent Panel has a total of 13 members.
The Co-Chairs selected the Panel members. The Panelists have a mix of skills and expertise in infectious disease, global and national health policy and financing, outbreaks and emergencies, economics, youth advocacy, and in the wellbeing of women and girls. They also share knowledge of the international system, including of WHO, and experience from similar international processes.
Panelists are drawing from their expertise and experiences and represent neither their institutions nor their governments.
Rt Hon. Helen Clark
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
Former Administrator of UNDP
Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand for three successive terms from 1999–2008. She was the first woman to become Prime Minister following a General Election in New Zealand and the second woman to serve as Prime Minister.
Throughout her tenure as Prime Minister and as a Member of Parliament over 27 years, Helen Clark engaged widely in policy development and advocacy across the international affairs, economic, social, environmental, and cultural spheres. She advocated strongly for a comprehensive programme on sustainability for New Zealand and for tackling the challenges of climate change. She was an active leader of her country’s foreign relations, engaging in a wide range of international issues.
In April 2009, Helen Clark became Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. She was the first woman to lead the organisation, and served two terms there. At the same time, she was Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of all UN funds, programmes, agencies, and departments working on development issues. As Administrator, she led UNDP to be ranked the most transparent global development organisation. She completed her tenure in April 2017.
Prior to entering the New Zealand Parliament, Helen Clark taught in the Political Studies Department of the University of Auckland, from which she earlier graduated with her BA and MA (Hons) degrees.
Helen continues to speak widely and be a strong voice on sustainable development, climate action, gender equality and women’s leadership, peace and justice, and action on non-communicable diseases and on HIV. She serves on a number of advisory boards and commissions, including as Chair of the Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and Chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health.
H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Former President of Liberia
Nobel Peace Laureate
Internationally known as “Africa’s Iron Lady,” Her Excellency, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a leading promoter of freedom, peace, justice, women’s empowerment, and democratic rule.
As Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state, she led Liberia through reconciliation and recovery following the nation’s decade-long civil war, as well as the Ebola crisis, winning international acclaim for achieving economic, social, and political change.
Following the Ebola epidemic, Madam Sirleaf helped rebuild Liberia’s healthcare system, and launched a national community health assistance program to serve more than 4,000 remote communities. Since stepping down as President, building on lessons learned during the Ebola epidemic, she has become a staunch advocate for community health workers and free primary healthcare, as, among other things, a means to protect against the spreading of infectious diseases.
Madam Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her contribution to “securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women.” She is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the United States’ highest civilian award—for her personal courage and unwavering commitment to expanding freedom and improving the lives of Africans. Other honors include receiving the Grand Croix of the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest public distinction; being named one of Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women in the World”; and being the first woman to receive the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.
In 2018, she founded the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center), an institution dedicated to advancing and sustaining women’s political and social development on the African continent.
Madam Sirleaf has written widely on financial, development, and human rights issues, and in 2008 she published her critically acclaimed memoir, This Child Will Be Great.
She is the proud mother of four sons and grandmother of 12.
Former Minister of Finance
Mauricio Cárdenas served as Colombia’s minister of finance and public credit from 2012 to 2018, and is now Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.
As finance minister, Cárdenas oversaw a successful adjustment program during the oil shock of 2015-2016. Despite a significant reduction in exports and government revenues, Colombia preserved its investment grade status and was able to achieve remarkable social and economic progress. While in office, Cárdenas led a series of reforms that resulted in a significant expansion in formal employment and foreign investment. He was also responsible of coordinating efforts for Colombia’s successful accession to the OECD.
As finance minister, Cárdenas was Chairman of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G-24). He was chosen by Euromoney, as finance minister of the year in 2015.
Cárdenas became finance minister immediately after serving for about one year as minister of mines and energy. Earlier in his career he was Director of National Planning, Minister of Economic Development, and Minister of Transport.
Cárdenas has twice been the executive director of Fedesarrollo, one of Latin America’s premier economic and social policy think tanks. He has also been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he led the Latin American Initiative.
Cárdenas holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from the University of the Andes. He is married and has three daughters.
Diplomat, Pan-African activist
Aya Chebbi is an award-winning Pan-African feminist. She rose to prominence as a voice for democracy as a political blogger and activist during the 2010/2011 Tunisia Revolution. She is the founder of multiple platforms such as Afrika Youth Movement, one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements — and Afresist, a youth leadership programme and multimedia platform documenting youth work in Africa.
She is also the first-ever African Union Special Envoy on Youth and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet.
She has served on the Board of Directors of CIVICUS, the World Refugee Council, the Oxfam Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, the Women’s Alliance for Peace Advisory Board, and the Council of the Africa Public Health Foundation among others.
She is a graduate of the University of Tunis El Manar with a Bachelor in International Relations, a Fulbright scholar at Georgia Southern University and a Mo Ibrahim Foundation Scholar for her Masters in African Politics at SOAS, University of London.
Professor, Health Diplomat
Former Head of the Global Fund
The Honorable Mark Dybul, MD, is the Co-Director of the Center for Global Health Practice and Impact and Professor in the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.
Dr. Dybul has worked on HIV and public health for more than 25 years as a clinician, scientist, teacher, and administrator. He served as the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2013-2017) and the US Global Coordinator and Ambassador leading the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
After graduating from Georgetown Medical School in Washington D.C., Dr. Dybul joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as a research fellow under director Dr. Anthony Fauci, where he conducted basic and clinical studies on HIV virology, immunology and treatment optimization, including the first randomized, controlled trial with combination antiretroviral therapy in Africa.
Mark was one of the founding architects in the formation of PEPFAR. After serving as Chief Medical officer, Assistant, Deputy and Acting Director, he was appointed as its leader in 2006, becoming U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, with the rank of Ambassador at the level of an Assistant Secretary of State. He served until early 2009.
Mark has written extensively in scientific and policy literature, he is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received several Honorary Degrees and awards, including a Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, from Georgetown University.
Professor, Health Diplomat
Former Head of the Global Fund
Professor Michel Kazatchkine has over 35 years of experience in global health as a leading physician, researcher, administrator, advocate, policymaker, and diplomat. He attended medical school in Paris and completed postdoctoral fellowships at St. Mary’s hospital in London and Harvard Medical School. He is Emeritus Professor of Immunology at René Descartes University in Paris and has authored or co-authored over 500 scientific publications.
Professor Kazatchkine has played key roles in various organizations, serving as Director of the national Agency for Research on AIDS in France and French ambassador on HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases. In 2007, Professor Kazatchkine was elected Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a position in which he served until March 2012.
Between 2012 and 2017, Professor Kazatchkine served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Since 2018, he is the Special Advisor to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He is also Senior Fellow with the Global Health Centre of the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, and a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
Professor Kazatchkine holds Honorary Degrees from Imperial College, London, the Free University of Brussels, the Catholic University of Louvain and the University of Geneva. He is an Officer of the Légion d’Honneur in France and the recipient of several other national Orders and national/ international awards.
Former International President of MSF
Dr. Joanne Liu has served as International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from 2013 to 2019. At the helm of MSF, she has been a leading voice on medical humanitarian crises, namely in Ebola outbreak of West Africa, attacks on hospitals and forced displacement crisis and has engaged with world leaders at the highest levels.
Dr. Liu’s role builds on a career of field work with MSF, including over 20 medical– humanitarian field assignments. Dr. Liu trained at McGill University School of Medicine in Montreal. She holds a Fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine from New York University School of Medicine and an International Master’s in Health Leadership, also from McGill University.
Dr. Liu’s operational work has ranged from introducing comprehensive care for survivors of sexual violence, to developing a telemedicine platform for connecting doctors in rural areas with specialists worldwide.
Dr. Liu remains a practicing doctor, both in the field with MSF and also through hospital shifts in her home town of Montreal. She believes strongly in bringing and delivering high-quality, patient-centred care in all medical work contexts.
Former Director-General of Health
Precious Matsoso has more than 25 years executive management experience, having held leadership strategic positions at national and international level, covering areas of public health policy and programmes. She has been Director General of the National Department of Health for nine and a half years, during which she was responsible for bringing about various policy and legislative reforms. She served as the head of the medicines regulatory agency in South Africa for over six and a half years. She has been the Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on e-Health. She was the Chair of Technical National Health Council. Chair of Policy Review Committee of the South African National Aids Council.
She was the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director of Public Health Innovation and Intellectual Property. Prior to this, she served as the Director of Technical Cooperation for Essential Medicines and Traditional Medicines. She has been appointed to various international governance and advisory bodies.
She served as a Member of the Executive Board of World Health Organisation (WHO) for a three-year term. During this period, she served as the Vice-Chair and Chairperson successively. She was appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a member of a UN High Level Panel on Access to Health Technologies, a panel comprised of eminent leaders from the public and commercial worlds. She served as the Chairperson of the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee (IOAC) of the World Health Organisation’s Emergencies Programme and continues to be a member.
She was the member of the Lancet Global Health Commission on High Quality Health Systems. She is the member of the UNITAID Board. She is the Director of the Health Regulatory Science Platform a Division of Wits Health Consortium at the University of the Witwatersrand.
CEO and President of the International Rescue Committee
The Rt Hon David Miliband is the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He oversees the agency’s relief and development operations in over 30 countries, its refugee resettlement and assistance programs throughout the United States and the IRC’s advocacy efforts in Washington and other capitals on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people.
David has had a distinguished political career in the United Kingdom. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the youngest Foreign Secretary in three decades, driving advancements in human rights and representing the United Kingdom throughout the world. His accomplishments have earned him a reputation, in former President Bill Clinton’s words, as “one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time.” In 2016 David was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine and in 2018 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
David is also the author of the book, Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time. As the son of refugees, David brings a personal commitment to the IRC’s work and to the premise of the book: that we can rescue the dignity and hopes of refugees and displaced people. And if we help them, in the process we will rescue our own values.
Former Executive Director of UNFPA
Thoraya Obaid of Saudi Arabia, joined the Social and Economic Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), from 1975 – 1998 located first in Lebanon, then Iraq, Jordan and returned to Beirut. She was initially responsible for programmes on women and development and eventually appointed as ESCWA Deputy Executive Secretary.
From 1998 to 2000, she was the Regional Director for Arab States and Europe at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), New York, and from 2001 – 2010 was UNFPA Executive Director/Under-Secretary General. This career meant living in Lebanon from the civil war years up until the Israeli invasion of Lebanon (1975 – 1982) then in Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (1982 – 1990), thus having experience of living in wars and conflict zones and saw their impact on people and countries.
Upon returning to Saudi Arabia in 2011, she was among the first group of 30 Saudi women to be appointed to the Shura Council, 2013 – 2016. And presently, she is the Chair, Women 20, one of the Engagement Groups of G20 during the Saudi Arabia G20 Presidency, 2020. She received many awards, especially King Abdul Aziz Medal, of the first degree, for her international work.
Former Secretary of Health, Health Policy Maker
Ms. Preeti Sudan belongs to the Civil Service in India and has been an IAS Officer of 1983 batch from Andhra Pradesh cadre. She retired as Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India, on 31st July, 2020, after nearly three fruitful and successful years, especially the last six months, during which she was at the forefront in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. She has in the past, successfully handled outbreaks of diseases like Nipah and Zika in different parts of the country.
Prior to this posting, she was Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution. She also served as Special Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development and as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Defence. In her assignments in her home State of Andhra Pradesh, Ms. Preeti Sudan has extensively handled the portfolios of Finance & Planning, Disaster Management, Tourism and Agriculture. She is M.Phil in Economics & Post Graduate in Social Policy and Planning from London School of Economics.
Amongst her notable contributions to policy have been initiating and implementing two major flagship programmes of the country i.e. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (addressing child sex ratio through life cycle empowerment of Women), Ayushman Bharat (World’s largest Government funded) Universal Health Coverage Scheme with twin pillars of cashless free hospitalization for the 500 million needy and free preventive & promotive primary health care for all through Health & Wellness Centers (with free essential drugs supplied), Legislation on National Medical Commission that will bring in major improvements in Medical Education and Legislation on ban of E-cigarettes.
She has also served as Consultant in the World Bank at Washington where she worked on a Public Health Project. She was Chair of COP-8 of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. She served as Vice Chair of Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) for nearly 3 years wherein as Acting Chair, a successful Partner’s Forum was conducted in India in 2018 with 1600 participants which included heads of country delegations, ministers, parliamentarians, and over 400 young people. She was former Chair of Global Digital Health Partnership. India is one of the few countries to come up with a comprehensive Digital Health Blueprint.
Former President of Mexico
Ernesto Zedillo is the Frederic Iseman, ’74 Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; Professor in the Field of International Economics and Politics; Professor of International and Area Studies; and Professor Adjunct of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.
After almost a decade with the Central Bank of Mexico, he served as Undersecretary of the Budget, Secretary of Economic Programming and the Budget, Secretary of Education, and as President of Mexico from 1994-2000.
Zedillo is a member of The Elders and has led and served on multiple boards, panels, and commissions, including the Inter-American Dialogue, Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, the United Nations High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs, the High-Level Board of Experts on the Future of Global Trade Governance, and the Global Trade and Financial Architecture Project.
He earned his Ph.D. in Economics at Yale University.
Professor, Medical Journal Editor
Professor Zhong has been leading the development of a number of Chinese guidelines for the diagnosis and management of bronchial asthma, COPD, chronic cough, SARS, highly-pathogenic avian influenza and COVID-19. Since March 2020,
Professor Zhong has attended more than thirty international webinar meetings on epidemic prevention and control, including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Japan, Korea, India, Iraq and Nepal. The meetings aimed to share the Chinese experience to help these countries to deal with COVID-19 epidemic.
He has also called for greater attention to the spread of novel coronavirus in a number of countries, addressing the importance of implementing the “Four Earlies” principles: early protection, early detection, early diagnosis, and early isolation.
Professor Zhong, shouldering the responsibilities in the outbreak of three coronavirus events this century, has made great efforts in clinical diagnosis, medication, scientific research and governmental strategies. He proposes “One world, one fight” to gather all the resources and strength to fight against the epidemic.