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New Dean of Social and International Studies appointed at University

23 June 09

A leading figure in the global fight against HIV/AIDS has been appointed as the new Dean of Social and International Studies (SSIS) at the University of Bradford.

Professor Poku will take up his role from 1 August 2009 and will succeed Professor John Cusworth. He brings to the role of Dean a wealth of experience in managing complex multinational research and advocacy activities aimed at improving global health, particularly in Africa.

Professor Poku, currently the John Ferguson Chair and Professor of African Studies at the Department of Peace Studies, will lead the dynamic growth of SSIS. Speaking of his new appointment, Professor Poku said: "Under the strategic leadership of Professor Cusworth, the School has undergone 10 years of transformation and has seen many changes. I now look forward to consolidating research and teaching to produce a really dynamic School with a willingness to break down barriers between disciplines. This is what is needed to fulfil our vision of creating a leading School for Social Science and International Studies in the UK."

For more than 15 years Professor Poku has been in the forefront of the global struggle against HIV/AIDS, leading large scale longitudinal research into the socio-economic and political impacts of the epidemic on the most vulnerable people in the developing world, particularly Africa.

From 2002 to 2006, he was Executive Director of the United Nations Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa (CHGA). This pioneering commission was tasked by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan with identifying gaps in effective planning and responses to HIV/AIDS and provide information on its wider impacts on African societies. Its Chairman and former Under Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, K Y Amaoko, described the Commission's Final Report as 'an instrument of accountability'. Between 2004 and 2006, Professor Poku was also tasked with directing the Operational Research of the World Bank's large-scale Treatment Acceleration Programme in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mozambique. His many achievements include pioneering research methods for decentralization of complex AIDS medication in resources limited settings through public-private partnerships.

Professor Poku joined Bradford's Department of Peace Studies in 2006, as the John Ferguson Chair and Professor of African Studies, following on from previous posts held at the University of Southampton and Nottingham Trent University. His academic career has run parallel with prestigious roles and appointments within a number of international organisations. In 2007, he was appointed as a Special Advisor to British Government with responsibility for providing analytical support for policy towards Africa and, since 2007, has been Senior Advisor on HIV/AIDS policies and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, for the governments of Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, and Zambia. Most recently, in 2008, Professor Poku was Senior Advisor to the EU special missions to Chad, the DRC, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. He was also appointed as principal advisor to the international mission to mediate post-election violence in Kenya.

He is author/co-author of over one hundred scientific papers and 15 books. He is married to Soula with two children (Kofi and Kwesi) and lives in Leeds. 

23 June 09

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Further information for Media Enquirers

For further information please contact the University of Bradford Press Office on 01274 23 3089/3084.

Out of office hours call 07879 437996. Alternatively, e-mail or fax on (01274) 236280.