National Post

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Saturday, October 16, 1999

UN fund for women honours Wallin
First to receive UNIFEM award
Jonathon Gatehouse
National Post, with files from Steve Edwards in New York


Peter Redman, National Post
Pamela Wallin is the inaugural recipient of the UNIFEM Canada award. The Canadian arm of the United Nations Development Fund for Women chose the broadcaster because of her positive contributions to Canadian society and her status as a role model.

Pamela Wallin, the CBC television personality, is being honoured by the Canadian arm of the United Nations Development Fund for Women for her contributions to the advancement of women around the world.

Ms. Wallin, the well-known host of a daily interview show and former national news anchor, was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the new UNIFEM Canada award because of the positive contributions she has made to Canadian society and her status as a role model, the group's president said yesterday.

"She's a model in a country where [women] have rights," Kate White said from her Ottawa office. "The award is our attempt to acknowledge the opportunity we have here and make people aware how important international development is."

Ms. White said Ms. Wallin doesn't have a past history of involvement with the organization, but UNIFEM Canada hopes her media profile will help them raise money and public consciousness about issues in the developing world.

UNIFEM, an arm of the United Nations, is charged with promoting gender equality in the developing world. According to its latest newsletter, recent initiatives include a trade fair in Burkina Faso dedicated to the promotion of shea butter, a derivative of the fruit of the shea nut tree, and a workshop in Senegal on the topic of the fight against female genital mutilation.

A spokeswoman for UNIFEM headquarters in New York City said the development body is aware of the award, but stressed that it is a creation of the organization's Canadian volunteers, not an officially sanctioned United Nations prize.

"Pamela Wallin is getting the award for contributions to the betterment of women in general," said Rita Gibbons."It is a Canadian thing. We are not giving the award."

Reached yesterday during a break from taping in Toronto, Ms. Wallin said she is delighted and deeply honoured to be the first recipient of the award.

"In the world of journalism, there is a high value placed on this sense of objectivity, [the sense] that we don't have any opinions or feelings or that we're not citizens of the world. But we are, and I think through our work we can shed light.

"I don't join causes or belong to organizations. I think if you give people the facts, you can change minds."

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