Madame Ruth Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs and Chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, delivered the Alison Chesney and Eddie Killoran Memorial Lecture during the CHI 2017 conference in Basel.
Ruth Dreifuss (born in 1940, single) studied in Geneva where she received a degree in economics with special focus on econometrics in 1971. In her varied professional career she served as hotel secretary, editor of the weekly journal Coopération, social worker, assistant at the Geneva University. She then worked nine years for the Swiss Agency for Development and Humanitarian Aid (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) and became in 1981 Secretary of the Swiss Labour Union Federation. In that capacity, she was responsible for sectors including social insurance, labour law, gender equality and relations with the International Labour Organization (ILO). As responsible for public health and social insurance, she implemented a new policy in the fields of drug addiction and prevention of HIV/AIDS. She was also in charge with the introduction of the new law on health insurance, which guaranties a universal coverage for the Swiss population. After her retirement from government, she contributed to the WHO report on intellectual property rights, innovation and public health.
Memorial Lectures - Background
The public lectures are held in memory of Alison Chesney and Eddie Killoran, who both died within 6 months of one another, in 2006. Both were well known and respected figures in the drugs field over many years and are still much missed by family, friends and colleagues alike. Following their untimely deaths a number of their friends and former colleagues began discussions to determine what might be a fitting way to remember them. Their families supported the idea of an annual memorial lecture, at which they and the work they undertook might be celebrated by those who knew them and also brought to a wider audience. The lecture is organised by Knowledge-Action-Change.
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