Noeleen Heyzer – Leading Change Through the United Nations: A Personal Journey

15 April 2015 (Wednesday), 6.30 – 7.30pm
University Town Auditorium 3 @ College of Alice & Peter Tan

This year, the United Nations (UN) turns 70. Many people view the UN as a web of bureaucracy. Few are aware of how the UN operates, and the changes it has brought about in our world. This talk highlights the UN ideas that changed the world and Heyzer shares with us a personal journey of leading change through the UN. In so doing, the talk also reflects on the challenges currently facing the UN if it is to remain relevant and ‘fit for purpose’ to lead us into a more inclusive, peaceful and sustainable future.


Noeleen Heyzer is an Under-Secretary-General of the UN. She was recently the Secretary-General to the UN’s (UNSG) Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-building, state-building and sustainable development.

She was the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific since its founding in 1947. Under her leadership (August 2007 – January 2014), the commission focused on regional cooperation for a more resilient Asia-Pacific, founded on shared prosperity, social equity and sustainable development. She was at the forefront of many innovations, including regional disaster preparedness, inclusive socio-economic policies, sustainable agriculture and urbanisation, energy security and regional connectivity.

She was the first Executive Director from the south to lead the United Nations Development Fund for Women. She was widely recognised for the formulation and implementation of the landmark of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

She holds a BA (Upper Hons) and a MSc from the National University of Singapore, a PhD from the Cambridge University, and has received numerous awards for leadership.

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