Professor Obijiofor Aginam

 Ottawa resident Professor Obijiofor Aginam appointed Director of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute based in India

Wednesday 10 April 2024

The Director General of the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) has officially announced the appointment of long-time Ottawa resident, Professor Obijiofor Aginam, as the Director of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, a UNESCO specialized education Institute located in New Delhi, India. The Institute promotes the development of regional, subregional, and national institutional capacities in education for peace and sustainable development to meet the research and capacity-building needs of developing countries and countries in transition. Among other tasks, the Director of the Institute develops strategies to strengthen cooperation in the areas of education for peace, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and Global Citizenship Education (GCED)! UNESCO is a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, and the lead agency for Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Inclusive Quality Education!

Professor Aginam has held senior positions at the United Nations University (UNU), serving as Senior Programme Officer & Chief of International Cooperation and Development at the UN University-Institute for Sustainability and Peace at UNU headquarters in Tokyo (2007-2013).

He was Deputy Director and Head of Governance for Global Health at the UN University-International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 2013 and 2019.

He has been a Principal Visiting Fellow at UNU-IIGH and Adjunct Research Professor of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Prior to UNU, Dr. Aginam was a tenured Professor of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University where he taught International Law, Law of International Organisations, United Nations System, Global Governance and Human Rights.

He was a Global Health Leadership Officer at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva where he worked on the revision of the International Health Regulations (IHR) in the then WHO Communicable Diseases Cluster.

He has been a fellow of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) of New York on Global Security and Cooperation.

Aginam served as a consultant of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on ‘Governance of Anti-microbial Resistance’ and trade and food safety involving field missions to Bangladesh and Laos.

He was a member of the United Nations Inter-Agency Taskforce on Non-communicable Diseases between 2013 and 2019), and a visiting professor at the University for Peace, Costa Rica, and universities in Italy, South Africa and Japan.

He served as a member of WHO Expert Committee to review the International Health Regulations (2022-2023) appointed by the Director General of WHO.

He is currently serving as a member of the Expert Advisory Group on the WHO Traditional Medicine Summit.

Aginam holds a PhD in Law from University of British Columbia.

He is the author/editor of Global Health Governance: International Law and Public Health in a Divided WorldHumanizing Our Global Order, and other publications on global governance, international law, human rights, diplomacy, UN system, and sustainable development.

Professor Aginam distinguished himself on the Global Committee of Experts convened by the Director General of the World Health Organisation to review the International Health Regulations, WHO’s regulatory framework for the prevention, detection and control of pandemic diseases that constitute public health emergencies of international concern.

He worked with 19 other global experts in the review in accordance with the WHO Regulations for Expert Advisory Panels and Committees.

The sole purpose of the Review Committee was to provide technical recommendations to the Director General on amendments proposed by WHO member-states to the International Health Regulations as decided by the World Health Assembly, the highest policy making organ of the WHO.