Past Events

Planetary Health or Accelerate Our Extinction – We have a Choice

The 2023 Dr Wu Lien-Teh 7th Annual Public Lecture & Dr Wu Lien-Teh Award for Leadership in Public Health

About the Event

We are living in the age of Anthropocene where humanity is the driving force shaping the planet. Planetary health is emerging as a way to frame both the problem and solutions that need to be found to tackle the consequences of humanity’s actions. The ultimate consequence of continuous environmental destruction is accelerating damage to not only the health of the planet but everything that calls it home – our survival included. Humanity is now faced with some clear and stark choices, whether to recognise and act on the need for a great transition towards a sustainable future or to continue our current unsustainable trajectory.

Organisers: The Dr. Wu Lien-Teh Society and Penang Institute


About the Speaker

Professor Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood is a medical professional with more than two decades experience managing crises in health, disasters and conflict settings. She is currently Professor and Executive Director of the newly established Sunway Centre for Planetary Health at Sunway University in Malaysia. She is a member of the Malaysian Climate Action Council, the Ministry of Health Advisory Council and Consultative Council for Foreign Policy at the government of Malaysia, as well as a Senior Fellow of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Centre. Dr. Mahmood is also the Pro-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia. She is a strong advocate of planetary health and sustainability and actively advises on Environment, Social and Governance in the advisory and board roles she holds.

She was the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Public Health and member of the Government of Malaysia’s Economic Action Council from April 2020 September 2021. Previous appointments include the Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat at the United Nations, and Chief of the Humanitarian Response Branch at UNFPA. She is the founder of MERCY Malaysia, a southern based international humanitarian organisation. A strong advocate of private-public partnerships, she has been actively engaged with partnership development and program implementation with the private sector in her current and previous roles.

She is the recipient of numerous national and international awards including the most prestigious Malaysian Merdeka Award in 2015 and the ASEAN Prize in 2019, for her contribution to peace, community development and humanitarian work. She also received the inaugural Isa Award for Humanity in 2013 from the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Award for community development and peace building from Morehouse College, USA.