The city of Geneva is planning to rename a street for Annie Jiagge (1918-1996), who was the first African woman to be a World Council of Churches (WCC) president (1975-83). She was also moderator of the WCC’s commission on the Programme to Combat Racism.
She attended WCC assemblies at Evanston (1954), Uppsala (1968), Nairobi (1975), Vancouver (1983) and Canberra (1991). In 1968 she represented the WCC at the Roman Catholic laity conference in Rome. At home in Ghana, she served as counsellor for the Christian council and as chair of the commission on the churches’ participation in development.
The street-naming initiative in Geneva is highlighting women who contributed to the history of Geneva at different periods.
Annie Jiagge was the daughter of Robert Domingo Baeta, an assembly clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana. She became interested in the ecumenical movement when she attended a world conference of Christian youth in Oslo in 1947.
After studies in law at the London School of Economics, she practised law in Ghana and went on to become a magistrate, circuit court judge and high court judge.
She served the YWCA at various capacities at home and abroad, including as vice chairperson of the World YWCA from 1958-62. As president of the UN Commission on the Status of Women from 1962-72, she was the author of the basic draft of the UN Declaration of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
For her numerous contributions to the nations and the world, she received the Grand Medal of Ghana in 1969.
The decision of the City of Geneva to rename a street for Annie Jiagge proceeds to the Canton level to be approved by the Conseil d’État.
First published on the World Council of Churches website on 30 September 2021.Jump to next article