Broadcaster Park Jung-sook will represent GAVI Alliance

Geneva, 17 February 2009 - Broadcast journalist Park Jung-sook has been appointed to represent the GAVI Alliance as an advocate in the Republic of Korea.

The Geneva-based GAVI Alliance is seeking to strengthen its ties with the Republic of Korea which is playing an increasingly prominent role in global health and development issues.

"With great interest we have been following the Republic of Korea's growing engagement in the areas of immunisation, health and development," said Dr Julian Lob-Levyt, GAVI's CEO. "We are very happy to have recruited the services of Ms. Park to advocate for us. We very much hope she will help us strengthen GAVI's ties with the Republic of Korea."

Park Jung-sook was a high-profile broadcaster as the host of morning news shows for major TV networks in Korea for over ten years. Since then, she has focused her career on education and international public service. Currently, Park Jung-Sook is a professor at Kyunghee University and an adjunct professor of cultural diplomacy at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of thr Republic of Korea.

She is also serving as the honorary ambassador for Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), tasked with increasing public awareness about Korea's role as international aid donor. Ms. Park is a graduate of Seoul's Woman University and the School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University in New York and studied Japanese Culture at Korea University for her doctoral programme.

Ms. Park will be assisted in her work for GAVI by senior consultant Esther Lee. Ms. Lee has degrees from the University of California in Berkeley and from Seoul National University and has worked for various organisations such as the UN in New York and the Korean Ministries of Gender Equality and of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Ms. Park and Ms. Lee visited Switzerland in February where they held meetings with the senior staff at GAVI Alliance Secretariat in Geneva. Following the meeting, they attended the World Economic Forum in Davos where Ms. Park interacted with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Dr Han Seung-soo, the Prime Minister and the highest-ranking Korean official in Davos, on behalf of GAVI Alliance.

"I am honoured to represent the GAVI Alliance in Korea," said Ms. Park. "Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective health interventions available. I really want to spread the message that all children in the world have the right to be vaccinated against the most common and often deadly diseases. It is a shame that from the 9.2 million children who die each year before their fifth birthday, a quarter could have been saved by a simple vaccine."

The GAVI Alliance was founded in 2000 to bring new and underused vaccines to developing countries. So far 213 million children have been immunised through GAVI's financial support. To expand its immunisation programmes and protect even more children the Alliance aims to raise US$4 billion through 2015. This money is needed to for example introduce the vaccines against cervical cancer, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid and rubella in the world's poorest countries.

The GAVI Alliance
The GAVI Alliance is a Geneva-based public-private partnership aimed at improving health in the world's poorest countries. The Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialized and developing countries, research and technical agencies, NGOs, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.

GAVI support consists of providing life-saving vaccines and strengthening health systems. Since 2000, 213 million children have been vaccinated and 3.4 million premature deaths averted thanks to GAVI-funded programmes.

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