Featured Speakers

Dr Margaret Chan, Inaugural Dean of Vanke School of Public Health, Tsinghua University and Emeritus Director General of World Health Organization

Dr Margaret Chan, from the People’s Republic of China, obtained her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She joined the Hong Kong Department of Health in 1978, where her career in public health began.

In 1994, Dr Chan was appointed Director of Health of Hong Kong,the first woman to hold that position. In her nine-year tenure as director, she launched new services to prevent the spread of disease and promote better health. She also introduced new initiatives to improve communicable disease surveillance and response, enhance training for public health professionals, and establish better local and international collaboration. She effectively managed outbreaks of avian influenza and of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

In 2003, Dr Chan joined WHO as Director of the Department for Protection of the Human Environment. In June 2005, she was appointed Director, Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response as well as Representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza. In September 2005, she was named Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases. Dr Chan was elected to the post of Director-General on 9 November 2006. The Assembly appointed Dr Chan for a second five-year term at its sixty-fifth session in May 2012. Dr Chan’s last term began on 1 July 2012 and ended on 30 June 2017.

On 2 April 2020, Dr Chan was appointed as inaugural Dean of Vanke School of Public Health, Tsinghua University, China.
Dr Minghui Ren, WHO, Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/ Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases

Dr Ren Minghui serves as Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage/ Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases at WHO headquarters. In this role, he oversees a complex portfolio of technical programmes covering HIV, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, sexually transmitted infections, noncommunicable diseases, mental health and substance use. He currently represents WHO on the boards of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, UNAIDS, and UNITAID. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Director-General, he spent nearly 30 years working in public health, including as Director-General for International Cooperation in the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China. In China, his work initially focused on health policy and health reform, and later on international health cooperation and global health governance. Dr Ren is a medical doctor and holds a Master of Public Health and a PhD in Social Medicine and Health.
Prof Alejandro Gaviria, President of Universidad de los Andes and Former Minister of Health and Social Protection, Colombia

President Alejandro Gaviria is an Associate Professor at Universidad de los Andes. After having served as Dean of the School of Economics at Los Andes for six years, he was nominated by former Colombian President Santos as Colombia’s Minister of Health and Social Protection, a role which he occupied from 2012 until 2018. After his time working in the national government, he returned to the UniAndes campus as Director of the Center for Sustainable Development Goals for Latin America, until he was elected President of Universidad de los Andes for four years in August 2019.

Alejandro Gaviria has had a broad career as a researcher, professor and civil servant. He completed his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from the Antioquia School of Engineering (Universidad EIA). He also has a master’s degree in Economics from Universidad de los Andes and a PhD in Economics from the University of California San Diego.

In 2005, he was awarded the Juan Luis Londoño Medal by the Foundation for Research and Technology Promotion for his research’s contributions to creating positive social impact for the Colombian public. In 2009, he won the Simón Bolívar journalism award for the best opinion article, and in 2010, Portafolio named him the best Professor of Economics and Business Administration in the country. In 2018, he was awarded the Order of Boyacá, which is the highest recognition that the Colombian government awards to distinguished citizens for services to the country.

His most recent books include Who Goes Up and Down: Education and Social Mobility in Colombia; At Least We Have the Words; and Today is Still Forever.