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UN Assistant Secretary-General named Strathclyde Alumna of the Year

Joyce Msyua after receiving her Alumna of the Year trophy, with Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald (right) and Dr Francesco Sindico of Strathclyde Law School. Photo by Guy Hinks

A senior director of the United Nations (UN) has been named the University of Strathclyde’s Alumna of the Year.

Joyce Msuya is the UN’s Assistant Secretary-General and Environment Programme Deputy Executive Director. A qualified microbiologist and environmental scientist, she has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of international development.

Ms Msuya was appointed to her post with the UN in August 2018. She previously worked for 20 years with the World Bank, where she led international economic and environmental strategies, particularly in Africa. She is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Ms Msuya, from the foothills of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, graduated from Strathclyde in 1992 with a BSc degree in Biochemistry and Immunology. She received her Alumna of the Year award during a graduation ceremony at the University on Friday 21 June.

The award is made annually in celebration of the contributions which the University's alumni make in their chosen fields, in the UK and overseas.       

Ms Msuya said: “I am so honored to receive this recognition because I truly believe that Strathclyde University shaped me as a person and my vision of the world.

“It brought the best out of me, as a young African woman, coming straight from her home in Tanzania and I hope it continues to inspire many more generations like mine.”

Dr Francesco Sindico, a Reader in Environmental Law at Strathclyde Law School, gave the oration for Ms Msuya and described her as having been “leading and inspirational…throughout her entire career.”

Outstanding

He said “Ms Msuya is indeed a special person. Her experience and professional journey has been outstanding and she truly deserves the degree she is being awarded today.

“She feels comfortable both in a lab and in high-level policy meetings. She will be able to liaise with global policy makers and stakeholders and present to them complex scientific issues in an approachable way.

“At the same time her work has always had a strong focus on making an impact. From consolidating funds aimed at developing countries to strengthening regional collaborations, Ms Msuya’s work has always been geared to making a real impact to people and communities.”

Ms Msuya previously served as Adviser to the World Bank Vice President, East Asia and Pacific Region in Washington DC. She played a significant role in the creation of the Food Fund, established in response to a global food crisis in 2008, and led the development of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) growth strategy for Africa, which helped the corporation to realise historic increases in private sector investments in Africa.

She also managed the World Bank Group’s China-Africa Knowledge Sharing Program, in which the Group’s environmental and social standards helped to inform sustainable business practices of cross border investments into Africa.

Between 2014 and 2017, Ms Msuya served as the inaugural World Bank Special Representative and Head of the World Bank Group’s Office in South Korea. Her previous posts with the group included the World Bank Institute’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Coordinator, based in China, Principal Strategy Officer at the IFC’s Manufacturing, Agribusiness & Services Department, and Special Adviser to the World Bank’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist (Lord Nicholas Stern).

The University of Strathclyde is a signatory to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which the UN has set to pursue justice, peace, good health, responsible use of resources and the eradication of poverty and hunger.

Strathclyde has also made an Alumnus of the Year 2019 award to entrepreneur and software engineer Dr Martin Reddy.