PR 42

WHO Director General & COVID-19 Technical Lead to headline International Council of Nurses’ Congress 2021

14 September 2021

Two world-renowned global health leaders from the World Health Organization (WHO) will take part in the International Council of Nurses (ICN) virtual Congress to be held 2-4 November 2021.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, a long-time friend and ally of nursing and ICN, will give a keynote speech on the closing day of the Congress, 4 November, to the thousands of nurses already registered for the event – the world’s largest international virtual gathering of nurses.

Also headlining the Congress programme is Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 Technical Lead. Dr Van Kerkhove is an infectious disease epidemiologist who specializes in outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging pathogens. She is also the Head of WHO’s Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit and the MERS-CoV Technical Lead in the WHO’s Health Emergency Programme. Dr Van Kerkhove will join a prestigious panel of speakers on the first day of the Congress, 2 November to discuss The COVID-19 Pandemic: The global response and lessons learnt to prevent future pandemics. The panel will be moderated by the Right Honorable Helen Clark, former Prime Minster of New Zealand and Chair of the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR). Other speakers include Professor John Arne Røttingen (Ambassador for Global Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway) and Annette Kennedy (ICN President).

The ICN Congress boats many high-level keynote speakers, including: Mr Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations General Secretary; Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization, Her Royal Highness Princess Muna al-Hussein; United States Congresswoman Lauren Underwood; and Mrs Peggy Vidot, Minister of Health of the Seychelles.

In partnership with the Emirates Nursing Association, the ICN 2021 Congress will bring together thousands of nurses from across the globe in a virtual event and will build on the vital contribution of nurses in the battle for health and well-being across the entire world. Using the theme ‘Nursing Around the World’, ICN will pass the nursing baton across the different regions in a series of live and interactive events that will give its members the opportunity to showcase their expertise and innovations throughout the world.

Standard registration rates to Congress 2021 are open until 30 September. Participants will receive full access to all official congress sessions: full access to e-posters, partner and industry symposia; full access to online chat and other virtual networking areas; automatic allocation of continuing education credits (ICNECs) and full access to sessions after the event for a period of six months. To register, go to:

Further information and regular updates on the Congress 2021 programme are available on the congress website:

Download the press release here