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The Legacy of Nafis Sadik, Champion of Choice

Inter Press Service | 3-24-2013

Once dubbed “the most powerful woman in the world” by the London Times, Nafis Sadik learned at an early age that persistence leads to opportunities for change – and backlash from the Pope.

Champion of Choice, a book by acclaimed author Cathleen Miller, details the life and times of Sadik, the extraordinary women’s advocate who served as executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) from 1987 to 2000.

A dynamic collaboration between Miller and Sadik, Champion of Choice stands as an example of dedication and the power of the human spirit. The journey began 12 years ago in a quest for a story that led Miller all over the world.

“The main thing that connected me to her was my tremendous respect for her,” Miller told IPS about her decision to write a book about Sadik. She emphasised the importance of spending time with Sadik’s family, the local communities with whom she had worked and the women whose stories remained poignant contributions to Champion of Choice.

“People are not going to open up and tell you their life’s story over the telephone, to a stranger,” said Miller. “It was just about spending time with people and getting them to trust you, getting them to tell you things that were personal and sometimes very painful.”

Sadik fought tirelessly for women's rights and opened a global conversation on family planning.

On Mar. 20, UNFPA, Friends of UNFPA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region hosted a book launch at the Ford Foundation in Manhattan to celebrate both author and subject.

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