2007 Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Award Recipient

2007 Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Award Recipient

Vienna, 2 April 2008 - UNIDO Director-General Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, was at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) today to receive the 2007 Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement. The Award was established in 2000 for UIUC Alumni who are highly distinguished in their profession, either internationally or in their own country and have helped their nation or the world by outstanding contributions to government, humanity, science, art, or human welfare. Previous recipients include Nobuko Matsubara, President, Japan Association for Employment of Persons with Disabilities in 2001; Atef Mohammed Ebeid, Prime Minister of Egypt in 2002; and Ashok Ganguly, Director of the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India in 2003.

Dr. Yumkella  received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991 in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.

A lecture and seminar by Dr. Yumkella on Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in a Changing Global Climate were billed as a highlight of the award programme. The Award is in recognition of Dr. Yumkella’s exceptional leadership in development efforts to link sustained economic growth to poverty reduction, as well as to promote increased trade, and more efficient use of the world’s resources at the global level.

Dr. Yumkella’s early professional years focused on development activities in Sierra Leone, his native country, where he served as the Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprise. He also served as a member of the Ministerial Structural Adjustment Committee. This Committee provided oversight on policy reforms dealing with rationalization of the civil service, privatization, petroleum pricing, and monetization of the rice subsidy.  As Minister, he worked actively to formulate, implement, and monitor economic reform programmes designed to strengthen enterprise reform, promote cooperatives, and stimulate small and medium enterprise development.

Since becoming Director-General of UNIDO in 2005, Dr. Yumkella has been involved in the development of programmes to stimulate economic growth that benefit the poor in developing countries and economies in transition.  He has strengthened UNIDO country-level partnerships with other UN and development agencies to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Dr. Yumkella's leadership in economic development has received internatonal recognition on a number of other occasions. In 2006, he received the Prix De La Fondation from Prince Albert of Monaco in recognition of his outstanding achievements on behalf of peace, liberty and democracy. In March 2006, he was awarded a Visiting Professorship at the Shanghai Institute, China. And, in 2007, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Madras University in India as part of their Sesquicentennial Celebrations. Dr. Yumkella has maintained links with major universities and research institutes such as the Center for the Study of African Economies, at Oxford University, and delivered speeches and public lectures in numerous academic institutions around the world.

Dr. Yumkella is widely acknowledged as one of the most distinguished leaders in the field of international economic development.  He has used his exceptional abilities, professional skills and leadership to make a difference in the lives of many who live in less fortunate circumstances.

Three other individuals were recognized with UIUC 2007 international-achievement awards: Thomas B. Ginsburg, a U. of I. professor of law and of political science, received the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement; Dr. Peter J. Rohloff, executive director of Wuqu’ Kawoq, an organization that provides health care in Guatemala, received the Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award and the Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award; and Sara Gibbs, a senior from Kell, Ill., majoring in international studies, received the Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement award.