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Thomas Young Lecture 2020

Date: Wednesday 02 December 2020

Time: 14:00 - 15:00

As part of Research Day 2020, Dr David Nabarro will the prestigious annual Thomas Young Lecture. Dr Nabarro is a WHO Special Envoy on Covid-19 and his talk is titled “Nurturing equitable action in the face of complex challenges: from COVID-19 to climate change”.

The Thomas Young lecture will open with Dr Nabarro briefly reflecting on aspects of his career and defining experiences in conversation with Professor Jon Friedland. He will then speak in more detail about how to approach complex challenges from Covid-19 to climate change where simple linear rules do not apply.

Speaker biography

David Nabarro supports systems leadership for sustainable development through his Swiss-based social enterprise 4SD and is the Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. From February 2020, David has worked as Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19.

David secured his medical qualification in 1974 and has worked in over 50 countries – in communities and hospitals, governments, civil society, universities, and in United Nations (UN) programs. 

David was a senior officer in the British government civil service in the 1990s ending up as Chief Health and Population Adviser and Director for Human Development in the UK Department for International Development. From 1999 to 2017 he held leadership roles in the UN system, starting with the World Health Organization, on malaria, disease outbreaks, environmental health and emergencies, food insecurity and nutrition.  He ended up as Special Adviser and Under-Secretary-General for climate change and sustainable development in office of the UN Secretary-General.

In October 2018, David Nabarro and Lawrence Haddad received the World Food Prize for their leadership in building coalitions for action for better nutrition across the Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2018 he has served as Curator of the Food Systems Dialogues.  These have already enabled more than 2000 diverse practitioners to seek alignment on Transforming Food Systems so they contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  So far they have taken place in at least 30 different locations: virtual Dialogues are now being advanced in an increasing number of settings around the world.

David was appointed co-facilitator of the Nature-based Solutions workstream for the UN Secretary-General’s September 2019 Climate Action Summit.  He is chairing a forum on Climate Change and Health for the World Innovation Summit for Health in November 2020.


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