Mary Chinery-Hesse (née Blay)

Mary Chinery-Hesse (née Blay) was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2019. As a fellow, Mary Chinery-Hesse (née Blay) contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected
Cultural Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences

Mrs. Mary Chinery- Hesse is the first female Chancellor of Ghana’s Premier University, the University of Ghana, succeeding Late Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. A product of London University, University of Ghana, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland, and the World Bank Institute, she has had distinguished careers in Ghana’s Civil Service and at the United Nations. She continues to be an important voice on economic development issues, an ardent defender of human rights, particularly women’s rights and gender equality, as well as an advocate for African imperatives, mediation and conflict resolution. She was Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, the first woman to be appointed Deputy Director-General of the ILO, a position with the rank of Under Secretary-General of the United Nations. This gave her the distinction of being the first African woman to attain a position of Under Secretary-General in the history of the United Nations. She served as Resident Representative of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in several Countries, before her ILO appointment. On her retirement from the United Nations, Mary Chinery – Hesse was appointment as the Chief Advisor to the President of the Republic of Ghana in the Cabinet of President John Agyekum Kufuor.