The International Vaccine Institute (Director: John Clemens) announced July 1 that it will designate representatives of five signatory countries as members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) to allow them to participate in the overall management of the Institute.
To that effect, the IVI changed its Constitution to increase the number of board members by five seats. The amendment was approved during the annual meeting of the IVI Board of Trustees, chaired for the first time by Prof. Samuel Katz, emeritus professor of pediatrics at Duke University in the United States. Prof. Katz, a world authority in vaccines, started his three-year term as the board chairman in June 2003, replacing Prof. Barry Bloom, dean of Harvard School of Public Health.
Additionally, the Board decided to appoint Prof. Nay Htun at United Nations University of Peace, as United Nations Development Program (UNDP) representative on the BOT, and name him as the Chairman of IVI´s Institute Support Council (ISC) in a move to strengthen the ISC. Mr. Htun is former UNDP director for the Asia-Pacific region and a founding member of the IVI BOT who played key roles in the establishment of the institute.
It is expected that representatives of signatory countries at the BOT, together with a reinforced ISC, will prompt other non-member countries to become members of, and contributors of core funding to, the Institute. "The ultimate objective of the changes is to ratchet up support for IVI with more active participation and contributions by member countries and the ISC," Dr. Katz said. "With the presence of Mr. Htun, the restructured ISC will serve as the primary promoter and overseeing body for resource mobilization and worldwide marketing grounding activities."
The IVI, created as an initiative of the UNDP in 1997, is the only international research organization devoted solely to accelerating the development, and introduction of new vaccines for developing countries. It has 33 countries and the World Health Organization as its members, and some 80 staff members from 20 countries.