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Ugandan woman appointed Anglican Communion Observer at the United Nations


Hellen Grace Wangusa  

[Anglican Communion News Service]  Hellen Grace Wangusa, the United Nations Africa coordinator of the Millennium Development Goals, has accepted the call to be the next Anglican Observer at the UN.

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, announced Wangusa's appointment on October 3.

She will begin her work as Anglican Observer in January 2007, based at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

"I am certain Hellen Wangusa possesses the professional and personal qualities needed for this unique and important role at the UN afforded to the Anglican Communion," Williams said. "We are privileged in having an Observer in place and I believe Hellen's gifts of leadership, together with her considerable experience in Uganda and Kenya, will be helpful to her and to the wider Anglican Communion in the critical days ahead for the UN."

Wangusa's appointment follows the retirement last July of the former UN observer, Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Leota. The Rev. Canon Douglas Renegar has been serving as interim Anglican Observer.

A lay woman from Uganda, Wangusa holds a BA (Hons), Diploma Ed (Hons) and an MA in Modern Letters. Her undergraduate studies were taken at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where she worked as a teaching assistant and later as a lecturer for the Literature Department. After leaving this post, Wangusa worked as the National Women's coordinator for the Anglican Church of Uganda and was responsible for developing national programs, fundraising and managing a staff of 27 women. She was also the national link person for the global Mothers' Union movement and the Anglican Communion.

From 1997-2004, Wangusa worked as coordinator of African Women's Economic Policy Network (AWEPON), a faith based women's organization in Africa that also co-ordinates the UN's Millennium Campaign for Eastern Africa. In this role, she advocated for policies that meet the needs of women, children and those from marginalized groups, and ensured that those most affected were central in influencing economic decision making.

Wangusa is one of the founding members of AWEPON, as well as Gender and Economic Research in Africa (GERA), and the Council for Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa (CEEWA). She successfully reactivated two organizations that had been closed: The Joint Mothers' Union and Women's office in the Province of the Church of Uganda and AWEPON.

With her experience as a representative to the United Nations for the World Council of Churches (WCC), Wangusa said she will be able to deepen her contribution to the Anglican Communion as a key player in promoting International Relations at the UN through Peace, Dialogue and Diplomacy.

She hopes to strengthen the rich contribution of the Anglican Communion into the political hubs at the United Nations and combine that with the UN committees in Geneva that specialize in humanitarian work. "I am keen to use my representative position to focus on War, Peace and promote diplomatic means of diffusing tensions and resolving conflicts," she said, "and from my ecumenical experience, promote relationships between member churches."

Kearon said he looks forward to Wangusa’s arrival “as she brings so many gifts to this post. I also want to thank Canon Douglas Renegar and the staff and volunteers for keeping the New York Anglican UN Office working so well in this interim period."

Hellen Wangusa is married with four children.

Read further information about the Anglican Observer at the UN.