By Kevin Osborne, Executive Director, IAS
After several wonderful and productive years with the IAS, I have decided to relocate and join my partner in Greece to begin the next chapter in our lives together. This, of course, also means that my time as Executive Director of this amazing organization is coming to an end.
As someone openly living with HIV, I will always have a very special place in my heart for the IAS. I have been engaged with the IAS and International AIDS Conferences over many years – as a delegate, a panellist and, more recently, an organizer – and have witnessed the evolving nature of how we collectively learn, discuss, debate and advocate around HIV. There is a palpable energy when thousands of people from many sectors come together from across the world to drive the HIV response; we all feel the importance of this sharper than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it presents us. Resilience was so much more than just the theme of our conference this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced us to reflect deeply about the nature of the world in which we both live and work – as a society, as a community and as individuals. Re-imagining and building a more just, equitable and inclusive society has been the hallmark of the HIV response. Ensuring that the hard-won gains made in the HIV response are not eroded remains a priority for our community, and balancing personal and professional life priorities and circumstances has taken on a new meaning for many of us.
Together, the Governing Council and Secretariat have made the IAS fitter for the future by reforming the governance structure, navigating our first-ever virtual conference, and expanding our HIV Programmes and Advocacy portfolio. From where we stand today, I know that the IAS is more than ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow, share its expertise in relation to the HIV response, and in doing so, situate this wealth of collaborative knowledge within the context of a post-COVID-19 world.
The recently elected Governing Council is reflective of the spirit of volunteerism and global collaboration that is the heartbeat of the IAS. The new majority-women Governing Council has the breadth and depth of expertise in the HIV response that will provide the IAS with invaluable strategic direction and guidance in the coming years.
Prioritizing a personal over a professional decision has been more difficult than I would have imagined as I leave behind an amazing team of efficient and dedicated staff. Working with them and for such a mission-driven organization has been a career highlight, which I will miss.
More than words can say.
IAS Executive Director
Read the official IAS Statement by Adeeba Kamarulzaman, IAS President.