Amina Mohammed – Winner of the Global Citizen World Leader Prize – Deputy Secretary-General of the UN writes exclusively for Editions Lifestyle

By Joy Sigaud. 

On the eve of the Global Citizens Awards, well deserved winner of the Global Citizen World Leader Prize,  Amina J Mohammed of British/ Nigerian descent also listed in Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women is aptly placed to discuss sustainable goals for women worldwide.  A shining beacon of hope for many, not the few, she has travelled and campaigned tirelessly on many issues.

Amina Mohammed, a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals Programme to eradicate poverty by 2030, she has advocated and  implemented policy changes that have improved the lives of many suffering from the effects of poverty. Having served under three Nigerian presidents in senior roles, she presided over a 5% national reduction in HIV infections and a 32% reduction in maternal mortality. Here she has written for Editions Lifestyle Black History Month Magazine: 


I am pleased to contribute to this inaugural issue of Editions Lifestyle Magazine on Diversity in Britain. The issue of diversity is more relevant than ever as our world becomes increasingly interconnected and interdependent, and as we see a groundswell of hatred and discrimination affecting so many societies.

My own story is one of multiple identities. My background encompasses Nigeria and the United Kingdom, the public and private sectors, and the United Nations.  I am an African mother and a grandmother; my children and grandchildren are Nigerian, British, Syrian, Brazilian and more.  I am a former government minister, a survivor of gender-based violence, a faithful Muslim, the granddaughter of a Presbyterian minister; and the second-highest international civil servant in the world.

“Such diversity in just one person is far from unusual. We all embody many different identities”

Such diversity in just one person is far from unusual. We all embody many different identities. The growth of DNA-testing proves this in the most literal way, but it is also true socially and culturally. There is no homogenous culture in our world; there are simply those that are more and less honest about their history.

In recent years, we have seen a resurgence of populism, including leaders who seek electoral and political gain by dividing us on the basis of identity and difference. But in reality, diversity unites us and our differences only serve to emphasise what we have in common. It is through recognising and embracing the richness of diversity that we can address the most pressing global challenges we face today, from poverty and inequality to conflict and injustice. Gender equality and the inclusion of women and girls provides us with the clearest example.


Despite growing evidence that women’s equal participation is correlated with greater prosperity, more responsive governments, better bottom lines, greater stability and more sustainable peace and development, we continue to deny and exclude half our population.

A recent report by the World Bank found that just six countries give women and men equal legal rights across the board. At the current rate, it will take two centuries to achieve meaningful gender equality. The current pushback against women’s rights and gender equality in all regions of the world is not only an affront to our core values; it is a deathknell for our chances of peace and prosperity.

It also runs counter to the global roadmap agreed by all 193 countries of the United Nations just four years ago – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These start with the eradication of poverty and hunger, and include goals on health, education, gender equality, climate and more. They are a transformational roadmap for peace and prosperity on a healthy planet, based on inclusion and the value of diversity.

No goal stands alone, but the goal on gender equality is essential to achieving all the others. Without the diversity of perspectives brought to every facet of our lives by the equal inclusion of half our population, the qualities women bring to leadership in all areas, and the talents of young women innovating in science and technology, we will never succeed in building a better world.

 Let us take a moment to think about how diversity of all kinds informs our opinions, increases our understanding and advances progress for all.


This article is an excerpt from Editions Lifestyle Black History Month Magazine. ©
Photos: Behind the scenes and international presentations.