WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Feras Hawari of Jordan has been chosen to receive the 2016 Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence for his leadership in the fight against tobacco use in Jordan and throughout the Middle East. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will present Dr. Hawari with the award at its annual awards gala on May 17, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
The Wilkenfeld Award was established in honor of the late Judy Wilkenfeld, the founder of Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program and a leader in the adoption of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the influential international treaty that commits countries to take strong action to reduce tobacco use. The award is given annually to an international tobacco control advocate who has made major contributions to reducing tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries and who inspires others to do the same in the spirit exemplified by Wilkenfeld.
Dr. Hawari is the Director of the Cancer Control Office and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) in Jordan, the leading cancer treatment center in the Middle East.
A founder of the first comprehensive tobacco treatment program in Jordan, Dr. Hawari has worked passionately to reduce tobacco use in Jordan and throughout the Middle East. In 2013, Dr. Hawari helped spearhead the first comprehensive report on tobacco use in Jordan, which helped lay the groundwork for a national plan to address the devastating toll of tobacco. In Jordan, nearly one-third of the adult population smokes, including 55 percent of men, and 24 percent of students aged 13-15 use tobacco.
“As a physician who works with cancer patients, I have seen first-hand the devastating and entirely preventable effects tobacco use has had on the people of Jordan,” said Dr. Hawari. “Our progress to date has shown that with sustained government commitment, tireless advocacy and fierce champions, we can achieve success in the fight against tobacco use – both in Jordan and around the world.”
Described by his colleagues as a mentor and role model, Dr. Hawari has worked in Jordan and throughout the Middle East to cultivate advocates working to prevent tobacco-related death and disease throughout the region. Dr. Hawari and his colleagues have trained nearly 2,000 healthcare professionals from 19 countries and created the first Arabic-language distance learning tobacco dependence and treatment module.
“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is proud to recognize Dr. Feras Hawari, a champion for public health and a tireless advocate whose work in Jordan has impacted countless lives and inspired advocates around the world,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Dr. Hawari’s work has made a lasting impact in Jordan and the Middle East and paved a path forward in combating the world’s leading cause of preventable death.”
Globally, tobacco kills six million people each year and is projected to kill one billion people this century unless governments take effective action now to reduce tobacco use.
* The U.S.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Tobacco-Free Kids seeks to create a future free of death and disease caused by tobacco. Internationally, Tobacco-Free Kids works with governments and non-governmental organizations to implement effective measures to reduce tobacco use, as called for by the WHO FCTC.