December 27, 2019
The Duchess Of Cambridge has penned an open letter thanking midwives for their hard work, praising them for going above and beyond to help people “at their most vulnerable”. 
Kate Middleton Thanks Midwives For Helping Women At Their Most Vulnerable In Open Letter
Kate Middleton spent several days shadowing midwives at Kingston Hospital’s Maternity Unit in November and says she felt privileged to witness the work that “goes on behind the scenes, and away from the spotlight”.
“You are there for Women at their most vulnerable; you witness strength, pain and unimaginable joy on a daily basis,” she wrote in the letter.
“Although this was not my first encounter with the care and kindness provided by midwives across the country, it gave me a broader insight into the true impact you have on everybody you help.” Her letter has been welcomed by the Royal College of Midwives, but chief executive Gill Walton told HuffPost UK midwives also need better pay and working conditions in order to do their jobs. 
The Duchess gave birth to her own three children at the private Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital. 
At Kingston Hospital, she spent time at the hospital’s NHS clinic and post-natal ward as well as visiting new parents at home alongside the midwives. Related... Snap Happy Duchess Of Cambridge Releases New Family Photo For Christmas Day “No matter the setting, I was continually struck by the compassion that those of you I spent time with showed, and the incredible work ethic you demonstrated on behalf of your entire profession – not only performing your rounds but working tirelessly through the night to support people that were at their most vulnerable,” the Duchess wrote after her visit.The Duchess’ royal work has focused on Early Years – improving the lives of young children and supporting charities and projects that focus on childhood mental health – including guest editing the HuffPost UK project Young Minds Matter in 2016. 
Her letter thanked midwives for playing a “crucial” role in Early Years care and for the “help and reassurance” provided to parents-to-be and new parents. “It goes a long way in building parents’ confidence from the start, with lifelong impact on the future happiness of their children,” she wrote.January 2020 marks the start of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and the Duchess ended her letter by saying: “As we look ahead to next year, I want to thank you for all that you do.”  
“You don’t ask for praise or for recognition but instead unwaveringly continue your amazing work bringing new life into our world,” she added. “Youcontinue to demonstrate that despite your technical mastery and the advancement of modern medicine, it is the human to human relationships and simple acts of kindness that sometimes mean the most.”READ MORE: Duchess Of Cambridge Reunited With Midwife Who Assisted At Princess Charlotte's Birth Gill Walton, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said she’s “delighted that the work of midwives and MSWs has been recognised in this way by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge”, but midwifery remains under funded and understaffed in the UK. 
“We need to invest in maternity services so that mothers, babies and their families get the world class maternity care this country should be providing,” she told HuffPost UK. “Midwifery vacancy rates remain high, running around 9% when sickness and other temporary absences are factored in. Senior midwives are also telling us that vacancy rates have increased considerably in the past year.”
To ensure NHS hospitals have the resources needed to meet the demands services are facing, we must not only train more midwives, but support those already working “through decent pay and conditions”, Walton added. 
“The training grant for midwives announced this month is welcome, but there is still a long way to go.”READ MORE: Archie Steals The Spotlight In Harry And Meghan's Christmas Card 'A Unique Feel To It': A Night In The Life Of A Midwife At Christmas Thousands Of Pregnant Women Left With 'No Support' As NHS-Contracted Firm Collapses
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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