Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura has been inducted into the International Women’s Forum (IWF) Hall of Fame in recognition of her transformative contributions to society.
Fatma Samoura, who worked on United Nations projects for 21 years before becoming the first-ever African and woman to hold the role of Secretary General at Fifa in its 116-year history, was joined by fellow Hall of Fame honourees Chairman and CEO of General Motors Mary Barra and Executive Chairman of IBM Ginni Rometty at the online 2020 IWF Hall of Fame Awards Gala.
The gala was held online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and featured interviews with each of the three inductees about the paths they took to lead them to their current roles, the advice they have for young women and the causes that motive them in their daily work.
The Fifa Secretary General’s interview touched on her 21-year career working on United Nations projects, her work at Fifa under the leadership of President Gianni Infantino, her six-month mission as Fifa General Delegate for Africa to assist CAF in its reform journey, her zero tolerance for racism and racist behaviour and her advice for women.
In a video interview with Fifa’s first-ever Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman, Fatma Samoura said: “In my 21 years as a development and humanitarian actor I met people from different backgrounds, whether religious, ethnic or also based on gender and I could see how they were reacting in the face of difficult and stressful situations… so this wealth of experience I brought in definitely to Fifa where, as I said, the human being is a key aspect of everything we do. Whether you are a coach, a football player or a fan, you deal with human beings. The core values I brought along with my 21 years at the UN are respect of diversity, fighting discrimination, fighting for equal opportunity and a world that is more just and fair to everybody.”
In joining the IWF Hall of Fame the Fifa Secretary General joins women who were inducted for their work on tackling urgent issues the world is facing including: American poet and author Maya Angelou; United Nations Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; mother of the American civil rights movement Rosa Parks; President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; first Moroccan and first African Muslim woman to win Olympic gold Nawal El Moutawakel; American jazz artist Ella Fitzgerald; US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Chief Prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunals in the Hague Louise Arbour; former US First Lady, US Senator, Secretary of State Rodham Hillary Clinton: President of Ireland Mary Robinson; Chief of the Cherokee nation Wilma Mankiller; international film star and Shirley Temple black child star and US Diplomat Audrey Hepburn.
Referring to advice for women Fatma Samoura said: “Ladies you have to remember this, if you have been trusted enough to be given a position it is because you have the skills and qualifications necessary to do the job. Look to your sisters for support and count on them.”
The IWF was founded in the US by Elinor “Elly” Guggenheimer – chair of the New York City Planning Commission, in 1974. Its aim is to bring together women of diverse accomplishments and provide them with a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences, as well as advancing women’s leadership globally and locally. It has over 7,000 members worldwide.
A Tell /APO Group report