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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Mar. 13) – United Nations Population Fund executive director Thoraya Obaid is in Fiji to meet with stakeholders and development partners.

Ms Obaid, who is the first Saudi Arabian to head a United Nations agency, arrived yesterday for a four-day visit.

Ms Obaid's visit is aimed at further strengthening the collaboration between the agency and Pacific regional development partners.

"The visit of Thoraya Obaid underscores the importance that UNFPA places on its presence in the Pacific region," a statement said.

She is expected to meet with the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Speaker of the House Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Cabinet ministers.

The UNFPA office is expected to organise a reception to honour Ms Obaid tomorrow at the Fiji Museum.

Forbes Magazine's Arabic Edition named Ms Obaid as one of the 50 most powerful women in the Arab world in 2004.

She is best known for her campaigns for the rights and empowerment of women worldwide and most recently, her speech at the United Nations Security Council against gender violence.

"The speech was later described by veteran observers of the organisation as one the toughest critiques of the world's failures to protect women and girls," the report stated.

Ms Obaid is expected to travel to New Zealand and Australia after Fiji.

March 14, 2004

Fiji Times: http://www.fijitimes.com/


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