Convocation Speaker 2021


Contact: UW School of Nursing Marketing and Communications,

WHO Chief Nursing Officer Keynote Speaker for Nursing Convocation

June 2, 2021, Seattle— Elizabeth Iro, the World Health Organization’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), will be the keynote speaker for the University of Washington School of Nursing’s Convocation Ceremony, which will be held virtually on June 11, 2021.

“We are honored and delighted to have Elizabeth Iro, a fellow nurse and midwife, be the keynote speaker for our convocation ceremony,” said Executive Dean Azita Emami. “She has made incredible contributions to advancing the role of nurses in public health and health care services around the world. She serves as a wonderful role model for our graduates as they enter or return to the nursing profession.”

Iro is the first CNO with WHO, a position created by the Director-General to include a nurse on his senior leadership team. Prior to her role at the WHO, Iro served as the Cook Islands’ Secretary of Health between 2012 and 2017. She was the first nurse midwife and woman to be appointed in this role in the Cook Islands. Her public health experience spans three decades and includes work in New Zealand as a nurse midwife.

As a leader in public health, Iro has emphasized the important role nurses play in the future of healthcare. She recognizes the contributions of nurses and all they do to sustain the health of our communities.

More than 260 students will graduate with nursing degrees from the UW School of Nursing’s Seattle campus:

  • 141 bachelor’s degrees
  • 23 master’s degrees
  • 96 doctor of nursing practice degrees
  • 13 PhD degrees

“Congratulations to our Husky Nurses as you enter a world where your skills and compassion will be critical to communities as they ride out and recover from the pandemic,” said Dean Emami.