Noeleen Heyzer is currently a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation. 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 and social protection, sustainable agriculture and urbanization, regional disaster preparedness, energy security and regional connectivity. She played a key role in the preparation of the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership Framework and in 2009 was the first UN official invited by the Chair of ASEAN to address the East Asian Summit.
She was the first Executive Director outside of North America to lead the United Nations Development Fund for Women (1994-2007). She was widely recognized for playing a critical role in the Security Council’s adoption and implementation of the landmark Resolution 1325 (2000) 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 has served on numerous boards and advisory committees of international organizations, including the UNDP Human Development Report, the Asian Development Bank’s Eminent Persons Group, Board of Trustees of the National University of Singapore (NUS), member of the Governing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy(NUS), Governing Board member of Duke-NUS, member of the Kofi Annan Global Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. She was a founding member of several international women’s networks and was a jury member of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Innovation Award for Women’s and Girl’s Empowerment, 2010. She was also on the High-level Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding chaired by Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Upper Hons.) and Master of Science from the University of Singapore, and a Doctorate in Social Sciences from Cambridge University, United Kingdom. She has received numerous international awards for leadership including The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal (2004) given to “a person who has promoted, in action and spirit, the values that inspired Dag Hammarskjöld as Secretary-General of the United Nations and generally in his life: compassion, humanism and commitment to international solidarity and cooperation”. Uppsala, Sweden.