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Noeleen Heyzer

Noeleen Heyzer

Distinguished Fellow, Asia Global Institute

About Noeleen Heyzer

Dr Noeleen Heyzer is a member of the UN Secretary General's High Level Advisory Board on Mediation. Dr Heyzer, a social scientist, was an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the highest ranking Singaporean in the UN system during her term. She was an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007-2015) and the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific since its founding in 1947. Under her leadership, the commission focused on regional co-operation for a more resilient Asia-Pacific, founded on shared prosperity, social equity, and sustainable development. She was at the forefront of many innovations including for inclusive socio-economic policies, sustainable agriculture and urbanization, regional disaster preparedness, energy security and regional connectivity, including intergovernmental agreements on Asia’s intermodal transport and logistical system as well as the mapping of the ICT super highway in the region.

She was the first Executive Director outside of North America to lead the United Nations Development Fund for Women. She was widely recognized for the formulation and implementation of the landmark of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. Dr Heyzer was also the UN SG’s Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-building, state-building, and sustainable development.

Dr Heyzer was a founding member of several international women’s networks and has served on numerous boards and advisory committees of international organizations, including the UNDP Human Development Report, the High-level Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen, appointed a jury member of U.S., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Innovation Award for Women’s and Girl’s Empowerment 2010, and on the Board of Trustees of the National University of Singapore.

She holds a BA Hons and MSc from Singapore University, a PhD from Cambridge University, and has received numerous international awards for leadership.

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