AFEW International welcomes Yuri de Boer as executive director!

AFEW International welcomes its new executive director Yuri de Boer. Yuri was appointed by the Supervisory Board of AFEW International per 1 January 2021. He succeeds Anke van Dam, who leaves the organization after 13 years of dedicated service to the global HIV response and support to civil society in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Yuri de Boer has a background in human rights, health, and equality and non-discrimination. He has led international programming on access to quality health and HIV services for key populations and contributed to human rights and health advocacy at global level. Yuri has extensively worked on capacity building of civil society organisations in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa. Prior to joining AFEW International in 2019, Yuri worked for the International Labour Organisation, COC Netherlands, and the Council of Europe. He holds Master’s degrees from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Oxford.

Yuri de Boer:AFEW is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and it is a very exciting time for me to take over. I would like to thank Anke van Dam for her enduring commitment to ensure access to health services for key populations at risk for HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. There are many successes to celebrate, and I very much hope that we can soon again do so as we were used to, with face-to-face contact and direct human interaction, not just in on-line video calls.

While celebrating, one cannot ignore the unfortunate reality that Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the only region in the world where the annual rate of new HIV infections continues to rise rapidly, and where the HIV response is far from being inclusive of key populations – gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, people who use drugs, and people living with HIV.

Our challenge for the next decade is to advocate with and for the region: to ensure that it gets the political and financial attention that it needs, and that all people in this region receive the healthcare that they deserve, with respect, dignity, and free from stigma and discrimination. AFEW International traditionally has been a linking pin between West and East, and a facilitator of dialogue at regional and country level. That will not change. With the members of the AFEW Partnership in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the regional networks of key populations united in the Voices of the East Partnership, and our national partners, we will continue to facilitate dialogue between governments, civil society, scientists and health care providers. AFEW International will continue to advocate for inclusive and human rights based approaches to public health, and invest in strengthening community-based organisations that provide essential social and health services.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia is a vibrant, promising and beautiful region. It has a rich culture and breath-taking nature, and kind, strong and resilient people who deserve our continued support and solidarity”.

Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Special Advisor to the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and chair of the Supervisory Board of AFEW International: “The Board of AFEW International is truly pleased to announce the appointment of Yuri de Boer as the next Executive Director of the Organization. We look forward to working with him on supporting civil society and community endeavour in the fight against HIV and TB in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”.



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