Retired judge and practicing lawyer, Unity Dow, has become the first Motswana woman to be honoured by the Middle East Excellence Award Institute with a global award on peace and human development.
The Global Achievement Award to honour Dow and other excelling leaders from Africa and Middle East was set to mark the Global Peace Day celebrations on the 11th of November in Dubai.
Dow was the first female judge to be appointed to Botswana’s High Court but had since been identified as a human rights activist fighting for equality and justice.
The former judge has been recognized by the institute for her “tireless effort in utilizing and delivering strong leadership performance and continually setting standards of excellence in governance and citizen development in Botswana”.
Past recipients honoured by the institute include former US vice presidential candidate, Al Gore, former foreign Minister and Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, Igor Ivanov, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Ibrahim, and former prime minister of France, Dominique de Villepin.
In a letter addressed to Dow, Managing Director of MEEAI, Ali Kamali, explains that Dow’s outstanding performance and fight for justice during her term in office made her worthy of the award.
“The institute was established as a platform to recognize and honour the outstanding achievements of leaders and organizations who have contributed to the remarkable growth and development of the regional and global economy and has recognized world leaders across the globe for over 18 years now,” Kamali wrote.
Dow was recommended courtesy of a professor of lifelong studies at the University of Botswana, Idowu Biao, who said that nominating Dow as a recipient was a no-brainer.
Upon reviews of the nominations, her name was retained for the award.
Biao said Dow was chosen looking at the prolific nature of her work and the contribution she has made in promoting the rights of women and Batswana in general. He explained that as a human rights activist, Dow has been actively involved in making changes vital to human development.
“Basically her work speaks for itself; she has contributed a little more than most and records to that effect are available for all to see,” said Biao.
Dow first became a household name in 1995 when she successfully challenged the country’s Citizenship Act, which denied her children citizenship because her husband was a foreigner. The spotlight returned to Dow in 2006 for the landmark case between government and the Basarwa in which she ruled in favour of the Basarwa.
At the time of print, Dow was out of the country for business reasons and could therefore not be reached for comment.