Chinery-Hesse of Ghana
The Gusi Peace Prize – (The Asian Nobel)
Manila, Nov 25, Ghanadot - Dr.
Mary Chinery-Hesse of Ghana, Retired Deputy
Director-General of the International Labour
Organisation (ILO) and Former Under Secretary-General of
the United Nations, who was also the Chief Advisor to
the immediate past President of Ghana has been awarded
the Gusi Peace Prize for International Diplomacy and
The Gusi Peace Prize is a Philippines based Award and
honours distinguished individuals from the four corners
of the globe who represent the most brilliant examples
of those working towards the attainment of peace and
respect for human life and dignity. It has been referred
to as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Award presentation was held at a gala event in
Manila, Philippines on 24th November 2010. The occasion
was witnessed by several of her colleagues from all over
the world, as well as representatives from the many
international organizations and countries she has been
associated with, and was beamed on CNN Asia.
The Gusi Peace Prize is given each year to about 15
distinguished individuals or groups worldwide with
exemplary contributions to human rights, in Scientific
Discoveries, Performing Arts, Medicine, Economics, and
Internationalism, among others.
Dr. Mary Chinery-Hesse is the first African Woman to
receive this prestigious Award.
The Citation accompanying the Award to Dr. Mary
Chinery-Hesse read as follows:
Mary Chinery-Hesse has had distinguished careers in her
Country’s Civil Service and at the United Nations. In
the UN and in numerous other Organizations, she
continues to be an important voice on economic
development issues, an ardent defender of human rights,
particularly women’s rights and gender equality, as well
as an active advocate for African imperatives.
A Graduate of London University, she holds an Honor’s
Degree from the University of Ghana in Sociology and
Economics, and was awarded a Doctorate of Law (honoris
causa) by her Alma Mater the University of Ghana, the
first female product of the University of Ghana to be so
honoured. At the University of Dublin she undertook
Post-Graduate Programs in Development Economics, and
also at the World Bank Institute in Washington D.C.
where she was inscribed as a Fellow of the Institute.
Mary Chinery-Hesse’s first post at the UN was that of
Resident Coordinator of the UN System and Resident
Representative of the United Nations Development
Programme, serving in New York, Sierra Leone, Tanzania,
the Seychelles and Uganda. She was the first ever
African woman to be appointed to that position.
She was then appointed as the first ever woman Deputy
Director-General of the International Labour
Organization (ILO), after seventy years of the founding
of that UN Agency, a position with the rank of Under
Secretary-General of the UN. Again this gave her the
distinction of being the first African woman to attain a
position of USG in the history of the United Nations.
She also served as Chairperson of the UN’s Consultative
Committee on Programme and Operational Questions for
several years, and was as well the Chairman of the
Commonwealth Expert Group of Eminent Persons on
Structural Adjustment and Women.
Mary Chinery-Heese’s studies and experiences led
logically to her appointment to the high office of the
Chief Advisor to the President of the Republic of Ghana.
She also was Vice-Chairperson of the National
Development Planning Commission, and a Member of the
Board of the Centre for Policy Analysis. She as well
serves on the Board of the foremost African Think Tank,
Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town, South
In her younger days, Mary Chinery-Hesse was the
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Planning of Ghana. Among her myriad high-level
posts was membership on the Council of African Advisors
of the World Bank, and on the Eminent Persons’ Advisory
Panel of the African Union. Her activities took her to
the Chairmanship of a High-Level Panel to Review
Progress in Implementing the Programme for Least
Developed Countries. She has as well served as a Member
of the Council of the University of Ghana.
Other significant appointments have included Membership
of the Zedillo Commission of eminent persons on
Financing for Development, and the UN Blue Ribbon Panel
of sixteen wise world leaders on Threats, Challenges and
Change, tasked to rewrite the global security
architecture and reform of the United Nations,
especially the Security Council. She as well was a
Member, with several Nobel Prize Laureates, on the Board
of the prestigious Global Humanitarian Forum in Geneva,
Switzerland. For many years, she was a Member of the
Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical
Cooperation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
in Geneva, which she also chaired.
Her advice continues to be actively sought and valued by
many Governments and International Organisations on a
variety of themes. She is as a result very busy in
Mary Chinery-Hesse, who is the current Chairman of
Zenith Bank Ghana, has received several prestigious
awards and decorations both nationally and
internationally, including the highest National Award,
the Order of the Star of Ghana.