14 May 2015- Shakira Choonara (25), a PhD research fellow at the Centre for Health Policy at the Wits School of Public Health, was
selected from 172 applications from around the world as a Future Leader at the European Development Days 2015(EDD15) in Brussels in
June 2015.Each year the forum attracts about 5000 participants from over 140 countries from the fields of development cooperation,
human rights and humanitarian aid.
Shakira was one of 14 Future Leaders aged 21 – 26 selected to be the voice of youth in the forum’s high level debates. Shakira will be on
the Right to Health panel with three senior WHO officials in the session “From Response to Resilience: Consolidating Efforts for a
Sustainable Ebola Response towards Resilient Health Systems” on 4 June. This links in with CHP’s involvement with the RESYST consortium (Resilient and Responsive Health Systems) as she actively voices her vision and experience as a young adult to issues around resilience, lessons learned and policy discussions that will shape the future.
While in Brussels, Shakira is scheduled to meet UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon with her fellow Future Leaders, and visit the European Parliament and the World Health Organization.
Shakira has received numerous research awards and has participated in a number of prestigious leadership programmes including the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Youth Leadership Programme and the Emerging Voices at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Cape Town in October 2014. She is an advocate for non-racism, persons with disabilities and is committed to improving the health system and achieving the right to health globally.