PR 05

International experts on global health and women’s rights to speak at world’s largest international nursing congress

25 January 2023

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) will welcome two global experts to the ICN Congress in Montreal, Canada, 1-5 July 2023.

In a plenary session entitled Turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide, renowned nurse, politician and women’s rights activist Edna Adan Ismail will explore one of the great moral challenges of our time - the mistreatment of women, from gender-based violence, slavery and sex trafficking, to unequal access to healthcare, education and financial success. These are unacceptable violations of human rights that affect everyone and should cause moral outrage. If we can address these issues, we can change the world for the better. Women and girls hold so much potential to transform communities and increase economic prosperity.

In 1961, Edna Adan Ismail became the first ever trained nurse/midwife in Somaliland. During her long and illustrious career she held many senior international posts, including Regional Nursing Adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office in 1986, and was the first nurse to be appointed to the position of WHO Representative, a position she held until her retirement in 1997. On her retirement, Dr Ismail returned to Somaliland where she built the Edna Adan Hospital, which opened in 2002, and the Edna Adan University, which opened in 2012 and which she runs to this day. In 2002, she became Somaliland's first Minister of Social Welfare, and from 2003 to 2006, she served as Somaliland's Foreign Minister.

Dr Mickey Chopra, the World Bank’s Global Solutions Lead for Service Delivery in Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, will join a panel of leading global experts to discuss how we can build a better future. The panel discussion, which will also include experts from United Nations agencies, will look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other global challenges on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Panellists will discuss how real progress demands a renewed commitment to and action on international cooperation and scientific collaboration at a scale not previously seen. They will answer the question: how will nurses be part of the solution moving forward?

Dr Chopra leads the World Bank’s work around the organisation, management and quality of health services. Previous positions include Chief of Health and Associate Director of Programs at UNICEF’s New York Headquarters; Chair of the Evaluation and Research Group at the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria; and Chair of the Special Committee for Large Countries for GAVI. He also led the technical team that oversaw the UN Commission on Essential Medicines and Commodities.

ICN 2023 promises to be one of the most impactful ICN Congresses yet. The theme of the Congress is Nurses together: a force for global health and it will also look closely at key topics such as nursing leadership; emergency and disaster management; nursing regulation and education; improving the quality and safety of healthcare delivery; advancing nursing practice; growing and sustaining the nursing workforce; promoting and enabling healthier communities; and addressing global health priorities and strengthening health systems.

A full list of confirmed Congress speakers can be found here.

Early bird rates for registration to Congress are open until 31 January. Participants will receive full access to all official Congress sessions; e-posters; partner and industry symposia; master classes; a vibrant exhibition space; networking opportunities; and continuing education credits (ICNECs). To register, go to

Further information and regular updates on the Congress programme are available on the Congress website:

Download the press release here