Dr Nafis Sadik is the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and holds the rank of under-Secretary-General. She is the first woman ever selected in the history of the United Nations to head one of its major voluntary-funded programmes.


As the chief executive of UNFPA, the world's largest source of multilateral assistance to population programmes with a programme level of approximately $250 million in 1994, Dr Sadik directs a worldwide staff of about 800. UNFPA funds projects in over 140 countries and territories throughout the world. Since its inception in 1969, cumulative pledges through 1994 totalled about $3.2 billion from a total of 161 donors.


Dr Sadik was cited for her leadership in the family planning field as well as for her leadership in encouraging other women to find careers in the population field. Dr Nafis Sadik's leadership in defending women's status is well recognized, and particularly her efforts to involve women in decision making and implementation of development policies. 44 per cent of UNFPA managers are women; UNFPA has promoted more women to posts of responsibility than any other uN body.


A national of Pakistan, Dr Sadik was born in Jaunpur, India, the daughter of Iffat Ara and Mohammad Shoaib. Mr Shoaib served as Finance Minister of Pakistan and as Vice President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank). Dr Sadik was educated at Loreto House in Calcutta (India) and received her doctor of medicine degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi (Pakistan). She served her internship in gynaecology and obstetrics at City Hospital in Baltimore (USA). Dr Sadik completed further studies at the Johns Hopkins university in Baltimore (USA) and held the post of research fellow in physiology at Queens university in Kingston (Canada).


From 1954 to 1963, Dr Sadik served as civilian medical officer in charge of women's and children's wards in various Pakistani armed forces hospitals, directing a medical staff of up to 50 officers. In 1964, she was appointed Head of the Health Section of the Government's Planning Commission, responsible for developing, preparing and evaluating a five-year health and family planning programme as part of the nation's overall development plan.


In 1966, Dr Sadik became Director of Planning and Training of the Pakistan Central Family Planning Council, the Government agency charged with carrying out the national family planning programme. She was appointed Deputy Director-General in 1968 and Director-General in 1970. Dr Sadik joined UNFPA in October 1971, and became Chief of the Programme Division in 1973. From 1977 until April 1987, she was Assistant Executive Director.


Dr Sadik joined IUSSP in 1968 as a member and was an active member of the IUSSP Council from 1977 to 1981.


She was the first female recipient of the Hugh Moore Award in 1976, named after a pioneer in the United States credited with calling attention to the world population crisis. Dr Sadik is a member of the Association of Pakistani Physicians in the United States, and was elected as 1988 Fellow ad eundem of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. In May 1989, Dr Sadik received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Johns Hopkins university and in May 1993, from the Brown university. Dr Sadik is also the recipient of awards from President Soeharto for her participation in developing the family planning programme in Indonesia, and from the Government of Pakistan for her contribution in the field of medicine. During its annual meeting in Washington DC, in February 1994, she received the International Award 1993 from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). In April 1994, Dr Sadik was elected President of the International Society for development (ISD) for the period 1994-1997.


Dr Sadik has written numerous articles for leading Publicationsin the family planning and health field, and edited two books, entitled Population: the UNFPA Experience (New York university Press, 1984) and Population Policies and Programmes: Lessons Learned from Two Decades of Experience / Politiques et programmes démographiques: vingt années d'expérience (New York, university Press, 1991).


Dr Sadik is married to Ashar Sadik, a businessman. They have three children and two adopted children.