Ms. Heyzer is a Singaporean social scientist who was Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). She was the first woman to hold the latter position since ESCAP’s founding in 1947. From 1994 until 2007 she was the Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). She is currently Distinguished Fellow at the SMU School of Social Sciences, and Visiting Distinguished Fellow at RSIS, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She was also the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-building, state-building, and sustainable development. In 2005, she was one of the women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her struggle to improve the lives of women, while always promoting peace and justice.
Dr. Heyzer holds a Bachelor of Arts (Upper Hons.) and a Master of Science from the University of Singapore. She obtained a Doctorate in social sciences from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. She has received numerous award for leadership including the Dag Hammarskjold Medal, the international Aletta Jacobs Prize, and inducted into the Singapore Women Hall of Fame.