Dr Natalia Kanem happens to have kick started her career at the Johns Hopkins UNiversity and Columbia University schools of medicine and public health.
Between the years of 1992 to 2005, Dr Natalia Kanem happens to have served as a Ford Foundation officer where she dedicated her time and resources in pioneering the work in women’s reproductive health and sexuality.
The founder as well as president of the ELIMA Philanthropies which features an institution with a primary focus on children and youth in Africa until she left in 2011.
In the years 2012 and 2013, Dr Natalia Kanem became the senior associate of Lloyd Best Institute dedicated to Caribbean development.
The year 2014 saw Dr Natalia Kanem become the United Nations Population Fund representative in Tanzania while in 2016, she got appointed as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNFPA’s Deputy Executive Director (Programme) where she served until June of this year, 2017 and on October 3, 2017, Dr. Natalia Kanem was appointed as UNFPA’s Acting Executive Director, following the demise of the Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin.
Dr. Natalia Kanem happens to be the 5th Executive Director of UNFPA since the Fund kicked off operations in 1969.
Although a Panamanian by birth, Dr Natalia Kanem loves Nigeria so well – Indeed, her name Kanem was coined from Kanemi, one of the ethnic groups in northern Nigeria. She lived in Lagos for more than 20 years and named her son Mandela, after the legendary Nelson Mandela. I can almost say that although our dear Professor Osotimehin is no more, we surely have another Nigerian at the helm of affairs at the UNFPA. On behalf of the Centre Leader for the Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation (CERHI) Professor Friday Okonofua, and the CERHI team, we come together in wishing this great and iconic woman warm congratulations for this milestone achievement.