Ethiopia lacks a model of leadership

In January, 2016, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom was nominated as Africa’s candidate for director general of the UN World Health Organization.

Just this past week, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was named global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by the WHO, a position in which he will serve under whoever is ultimately appointed as the WHO’s director general. While Bloomberg, with his impeccable record of public health advocacy and international philanthropy, is clearly over-qualified for this role, what frightens me is the potential appointment of Adhanom as his superior. A rudimentary comparison of these two men’s records highlights the latter’s extreme unfitness for the office he seeks to assume and the absurdity of his even being considered.

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During his unprecedented three-term tenure, mayor Bloomberg took direct control of the troubled New York City school system and oversaw a marked increase in children’s test scores; he banned smoking in restaurants, bars, parks and other indoor and outdoor public arenas; he partnered with and empowered citizens of the city by calling upon them to notify authorities of suspicious happenings they observed; he established a comprehensive information hotline that provides vital factual data to city dwellers and visitors in more than 170 languages; he banned trans-fats and mandated the posting of calorie counts in New York restaurants, measures that have since been adopted in major cities throughout the nation toward combating rising obesity rates in both adults and children; he used his own private funds to pay for a Super Bowl ad promoting stricter gun control.

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