Aspen Global Health and Development

Who are the Members of the Global Leaders Council?

The Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health is composed of eighteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health. The Council works to revitalize political commitments to reproductive health by increasing awareness of reproductive health issues, supporting the effective use of donor resources, and championing policies dedicated to achieving universal access to reproductive health.


The Honorable Joy Phumaphi
Former Minister of Health, Botswana;
Former Vice President of Human Development, The World Bank
"Poor women endure a disproportionate burden of poor sexual and reproductive health, poor nutrition and life threatening childbirth. Their full and equal participation in development depends directly on accessing these essential services, improved education outcomes for girls, and equal opportunities for women in society."


Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda
Former President, Malawi
"For me, as a mother, as a victim of maternal health complication, and more importantly as a woman leader in a position of influence and power, it is my moral obligation to do all that I can to contribute to improvement in reproductive health...I will not rest until the job is done, even one woman dying in child birth is too much for me."

The Honorable Gro Harlem Brundtland
Former Prime Minister, Norway
"It is a moral obligation to care and to share- across borders, across generations. We have the knowledge and the combined resources to eradicate most challenges to mother and child. By what means of argument can we defend not doing so?"

His Excellency Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Former President, Brazil
"Women's reproductive rights are core human rights. In all societies and culture women are care givers and peace makers. There can be no democracy or development without full women's participation. To fight against all forms of discrimination against women is to build safer, healthier, more equitable and sustainable communities."

The Right Honorable Helen Clark
UNDP Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group;
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
"Improving women's sexual and reproductive health is an essential part of advancing gender equality and the broader human development agenda. Achieving universal access to reproductive health services is also envisaged in the Millennium Development Goals, and reaching that would help nations and communities also reach other MDGs."

The Honorable Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia
"It is the poorest women and couples that have the least access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, including family planning. If we ensure access to these services and supplies, we will reduce social inequity and the poverty that runs from one generation to the next."

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Her Excellency Tarja Halonen
Former President, Finland
"Gender Equality - improving the position of women and girls- is a prerequisite to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development. Education and improving maternal health care are also practical means of reducing poverty."

The Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President, Liberia
"Now is the time to step up our efforts... to address the issue of women's health, gender, and human rights, in order to achieve a rapid and tangible impact in Africa... and prevent the personal tragedies of children having to grow up without their mothers, of families who live with the pain of needlessly losing a sister, or a cousin, or a daughter."

Photo of Musimbi Kanyoro

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro
President and CEO, Global Fund for Women
"Some ideas about reproductive health are entrenched in outdated notions and fear, and inspiring and enacting true social change around this issue demands Herculean efforts."

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka
Executive Director, UN Women Former Deputy President, South Africa
"The cultural and religious taboos surrounding reproductive rights limits the degree to which we empower young people through information. We can do more with greater access to technology for young people all over the world." 


Kavita Ramdas
Representative, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, The Ford Foundation
"If the future of the world depends on the freedom of women, it must include their sexual and reproductive freedom."

Dr. Fred Sai
Former President, International Planned Parenthood Federation;
"To me, the success of African leadership in the decade should be judged first and foremost by the progress made in the lives of our women and girls."

The Right Honorable Dame Jenny Shipley
Former Prime Minister, New Zealand;
Vice President of the Club of Madrid
"The serious problems facing the world today will never be solved until women are able to use their full potential on behalf of themselves, their families, and their global and local communities."

Ted Turner
Founder and Chairman, United Nations Foundation
"We are committed to this work because we know that family planning benefits mothers, families, and communities, and helps children survive." 

Her Excellency Vaira Vike-Freiberga
Former President, Latvia
"There can be no better investment into the future of the human race than a firm commitment to advancing reproductive health. Only then will we be able to fully achieve the Millennium Development Goals and reduce poverty.”