On December 11, 2019, the U.S. government announced Runcie Chidebe, a Nigerian, as the recipient of the “2020 Global Ties U.S. International Visitor Leadership Program Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change.”
Runcie is a health advocate, civil society activist, and leading voice in making cancer control a national health priority in Nigeria. His many accomplishments include launching trainings for oncology care, volunteer mentorships, establishing breast cancer support groups, and advocating for improved cancer care and mandatory health insurance. He also led campaigns to establish the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment through an act of the Nigerian Parliament, and sits on several committees to ensure its implementation, as well as other programs for cancer prevention.
In January, Runcie will receive his award and deliver an acceptance speech at the 2020 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting in Washington, DC.
Much of Runcie’s work was inspired by his participation in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on “Youth and Civic Participation” in 2016, where he made several connections that led him to advance his work in Nigeria. He connected with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to start the first ECHO palliative online training program for nurses in Nigeria. A visit to the headquarters of the Susan G. Komen organization in Dallas led to a partnership to translate materials on breast cancer awareness from English to various Nigerian languages.
Runcie is the founder and executive director of Project PINK BLUE, which advocates for improving healthcare quality and access to cancer care in Nigeria. Through Project PINK BLUE, he mobilizes over 3,000 people each year to walk in cities across Nigeria to create cancer awareness and advocate the Nigerian government to improve cancer care and make health insurance mandatory.
About the Award
The Global Ties U.S. IVLP Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change recognizes an alumnus or alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program for high achievements driving social change through innovation in their home communities. Thanks to the contributions of Vicente López-Ibor Mayor, an IVLP alumnus and President of Via-Circulo Jefferson, the award is generously granted annually at the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting.