The World YWCA today named Malayah Harper as its 14th General Secretary. Malayah, a dual Canadian and British citizen, has a strong background in gender issues, women’s leadership and women’s rights, with particular expertise in sexual and reproductive health.

“Malayah brings with her the ability to work at the highest levels of government, as well as between field programmes and global policy and political processes,” said Deborah Thomas-Austin, President, World YWCA.  “These skills will be a great asset to the movement.”

Before joining the World YWCA, Malayah was Director, Gender Equality and Diversity for UNAIDS, where she led and elevated the global political commitment for Women, Girls and HIV. She also worked across Member States, resulting in the first consensus global resolution on the topic since 2010 at the Commission on the Status of Women.

Malayah has significant experience in movement building and field work. She was the UNAIDS Country Director for Uganda, and subsequently Kenya.  She has a deep commitment to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind as evident through her work with ethnic minority communities in Thailand and her roots with Inuit communities in Canada.

“I am honoured to be the General Secretary of the World YWCA, a movement with such a broad reach and depth,” said Malayah Harper. “There is no other organisation in the world that can reach 20,000 communities and more than 25 million women.”

Please see Malayah’s video message here (French and Spanish subtitles are available by clicking on the “Subtitles” icon in the bottom right corner of the screen).

You can find Malayah’s biography here.