Cape Town - Former executive director of UN Women and former deputy president Phumzile Mlamba-Ngcuka will be awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun for her significant contributions towards strengthening the partnership between Japan and United Nations Women.
The order is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field, development in welfare or preservation of the environment.
While it is the third highest order bestowed by the Japanese government, it is the highest ordinarily conferred order, and The Grand Cordon is the highest classification of the honour out of six classes.
Mlambo-Ngcuka worked as the executive director of the UN Women for eight years. Her term started in 2013 when she forged ties with various Japanese stakeholders through her participation in WAW (World Assembly for Women) as well as through private sector engagement.
Under her leadership, UN Women opened the Tokyo liaison office, the first liaison office in Asia, which has played a significant role in increasing the visibility of UN Women, as well as in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in Japan.
UN Women also launched the HeForShe initiative, which promotes the involvement of men and boys in the pursuit of gender equality. She officially left UN Women in August 2021 after serving two terms.
Throughout her career, Mlambo-Ngcuka has directed her energy towards issues of human rights, gender and youth development, equality and social justice.
Mlambo-Ngcuka served as South Africa’s Deputy President under Thabo Mbeki from 2005 until Mbeki resigned in 2008, when she went along with him. The details of the ceremony have yet to be determined.