AAII Founder and Chairman Named Ambassador of Goodwill For The Promotion of Child Survival and Maternal Breastfeeding

On May 14, 2008, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse was appointed Ambassador of Good Will for the Promotion of Child Survival and Maternal Breastfeeding by the Senegalese Ministry of Health. Mrs. Safiyatou Thiam, Minister of Health and Medical Prevention, announced the prestigious appointment at the Meridien President Hotel in Dakar in the presence of Shaykh Hassan Cisse’s family members, friends and students from the United States, China, Great Britain, Nigeria, Mauritania, Ghana, Gambia, Namibia and South Africa. Mrs. Thiam identified the criteria for appointment to this position, and affirmed that the person upon whom this honor was being conferred exceeded them:

  • To be actively committed to the promotion of breastfeeding.
  • To be open and capable of mobilizing populations for the benefit of children.
  • To have a strong personality.
  • To be a respected and well-known person.

Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse is well known internationally beyond the African continent for his humanitarian activities as Founder and Chairman of the African American Islamic Institute (AAII). Through AAII, he has advanced child survival by establishing programs and supporting public policies that promote universal education, access to health care and proper nutrition, and protect the rights of children. He has been an active partner with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in groundbreaking campaigns, to include breastfeeding and immunization initiatives, education of girls and protection of children from all forms of abuse.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which holds the promotion of breastfeeding as one of its highest priorities, was represented by Ms. Minouche Alavo of UNICEF-Senegal. Over the past twenty years, Ms. Alavo has facilitated the relationship between Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse and UNICEF, to include its designation of AAII’s Shifa-al-Asqam Socio-Medical Center as a “Baby Friendly Hospital” in recognition of its breastfeeding educational initiatives and refusal to accept donations from baby formula manufacturers.

The position of Ambassador of Good Will for the Promotion of Child Survival and Maternal Breastfeeding is a three-year, renewable mandate that will support Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse’s official missions to heighten public awareness of the health benefits breastfeeding affords infants and their mothers, and to explain the significance of breastfeeding in Islam.

(This article is based upon information reported in the Senegalese newspaper, “Soleil Quotidien” in French).

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