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Aziz Khan named next chair of UNICEF International Council

TBP Online
25 May 2024 11:38:22 | Update: 25 May 2024 11:38:22
Aziz Khan named next chair of UNICEF International Council
— Courtesy Photo

UNICEF has announced Muhammed Aziz Khan as the incoming chair of the UNICEF International Council, succeeding the inaugural Chair, Maria Ahlström-Bondestam.

Khan will assume position in November, 2024, according to a media release from UNICEF issued on May 24.

The UNICEF International Council is a distinguished community of approximately 150 private philanthropists and partners, many of whom are from the world’s leading business families and global influencers. The council aims to optimise philanthropic investments for children by pooling their funding, leadership, and expertise. Collectively, members have invested more than $552 million in UNICEF, supporting children worldwide, reports UNB.

Aziz Khan, founder chairman of the Bangladeshi conglomerate Summit Group, is also the founder and Trustee of the Anjuman and Aziz Charitable Trust (AACT), alongside his wife, Anjuman Khan. Since joining the UNICEF International Council in 2022, Khan and his family have been active contributors.

Driven by a commitment to shaping a better future for children, Khan and his family have sponsored schools, built hospitals, and supported projects addressing drug addiction and violence against women and children in Bangladesh.

“I am a believer in the power of education – not only for its ability to lift people out of poverty, but as a unifying force for good. I see education as the bedrock of modern civilisation and builder of trust amongst humanity and that by enhancing understanding, education has the power to reduce social conflicts and bring more harmony into the world,” said Aziz Khan. 

In response to the educational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Khan decided to focus AACT's efforts on education, prioritising getting children back into classrooms and helping them catch up on lost schooling.

“The UNICEF International Council has a proven record of delivering a high impact at scale. Having mobilised hundreds of millions of dollars to support UNICEF’s essential work around the world, our trusted philanthropic partners are committed to investing in solutions for children. I am pleased to welcome Aziz Khan as the next UNICEF International Council Chair, and I look forward to working with him to shape a better, fairer future for all children,” UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Kitty van der Heijden said.

Under Khan’s leadership, the UNICEF International Council aims to expand its membership by positioning itself as the natural home for philanthropists dedicated to children’s rights. The council will strengthen its role as a convening platform on key global issues, explore bespoke philanthropic journeys and strategies, and find ways to amplify its impact on children's lives through strategic investments in their futures.

Council members are dedicated to enabling access to quality education and health systems, building climate resilience, amplifying the voices of youth, and driving action in emergencies. They aim to scale up strategic investments in children to secure the ultimate return: a future where all families and communities can prosper.

The UNICEF International Council hosts an annual symposium, thematic working groups, and other engagement opportunities, allowing members to learn from each other, interact with the UNICEF leadership team, and identify areas for collaboration and joint investment.

Working closely with UNICEF, Council members seek to address the most pressing challenges facing children worldwide and demonstrate how strategic philanthropy can catalyse solutions and create greater impact for children.