THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Monroe, Michigan)
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I am pleased to name Sandra L. Thurman Presidential Envoy for AIDS Cooperation - the first U.S. Envoy to deal exclusively with a global health issue.
AIDS is now the leading cause of death in Africa, and increasingly threatens Asia and the former Soviet Union. It is reversing hard-won advances in life expectancy and economic growth, and imperils the stability and security of nations.
Sandy Thurman has joined the battle against AIDS in every capacity from community activist, to national policy director, to international policy advocate.
Since I appointed her Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy -- a position she will retain -- she has traveled repeatedly to Africa, and met many leaders including former President Mandela of South Africa, President Museveni of Uganda, and President Obasanjo of Nigeria. She led the U.S. delegation to the International AIDS conference in Durban, and co-chaired its session on prevention.
Sandy will be an inspiring envoy. She combines the passion of an advocate with the skill of a diplomat.
One of her top priorities as AIDS Policy Director was to expand America's commitment to fighting global AIDS. Now, Sandy will use America's growing efforts as leverage to encourage other countries to expand financial commitments, to step up prevention efforts, and to increase access to care and treatment worldwide. Sandy has an extraordinary record of service on this issue, and I am proud to make her America's first envoy in the global fight against AIDS.