Congratulations to the UNU-GEST fellows of 2016

The United Nations University Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme (UNU-GEST) celebrated the graduation of 15 fellows with a post-graduate diploma in international gender studies. The fellows came from six different countries; four men and eleven women from Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Palestine (West Bank), South Africa and Uganda. The graduating class is the largest since the beginning of the programme and it is the fourth cohort after it became a part of the United Nations University in 2013 as a result of a trilateral agreement between the University of Iceland, the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the UN University (UNU).

Graduating class of 2016

At the graduation ceremony, several distinguished guests addressed the fellows including Mr. Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson, Permanent Secretary of State, as well as Mr. Guðmundur Hálfdanarson, Dean of the School of Humanities and Mrs. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the former President of Iceland and Patroness of UNU-GEST. On this occasion Dr. Irma Erlingsdóttir, Director of UNU-GEST, accounted for the activities of the programme in the past year and Mr. Daniel Amponsah from Ghana spoke on behalf of the graduating fellows on their experiences during their stay in Iceland. Mrs. Finnbogadóttir delivered the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Award for the best final assignment, this year received by Ms. Stella Tereka from Uganda for her project: ‘Enhancing Women Farmers’ Adaptive Capacity to Cope with Climate Change in Kamuli District’. She was supervised by Dr. Jón Geir Pétursson, Director General at the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources and associate professor at the University of Iceland.

Stella accepting her awards from Vigdís

Mrs. Finnbogadóttir reflected on this issue by addressing gender equality as a universal, human right and of the importance of breaking silences and taboos in this field. Mrs. Finnbogadóttir expressed her complete and certain conviction towards the fact that the fellows of the UNU-GEST programme will be able to become leaders of change and role models for gender equality.

Since the foundation of the GEST programme in 2009, sixty-eight students have graduated from the school. The objective of UNU-GEST is to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through research and eduation. Its main target group is professionals from developing countries and post-conflict societies working for government and civil society organisations. During the semester-long programme the fellows are provided with an interdisciplinary education by specialists from all over the world to make them more equipped to work on gender issues in their respective countries. 

UNU-GEST is affiliated with the School of Humanites at the University of Iceland and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as a part of Iceland´s contribution to development cooperation efforts. UNU-GEST is part of the The UNU programme based in Iceland; the UNU Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP), UNU Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP), and UNU Land Restoration Training Programme (UNU-LRT).

Information on the final projects of the 2016 UNU-GEST fellows can be found here.