After a career of over 36 years at the UN, Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Her UN career covered diverse fields of work: development, humanitarian, refugees, peacebuilding and chemical weapons.
She was the Assistant Secretary-General in charge of Peacebuilding at the UN from 2009-2014 and helped build this nascent organization created after security council and general assembly resolutions in 2005. From 2014 - 2015, she served as the Secretary-General's senior adviser to the University of Peace (UPaz) in Costa Rica.
Prior to that, Ms. Cheng-Hopkins was the UN’s Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees based in Geneva, from 2006 to 2009. During this period, she helped build up HCR's role in assisting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
She served as the Director of the World Food Programme’s Office in New York (2002 to 2006) after having served as Director for Asia and Eastern Europe, based in Rome, from 1997-2000, where she managed some of WFP’s largest operations of that period, in North Korea and Kosovo, and conceptualized and managed an innovative exit from China, helping turn China from food aid recipient to a WFP donor country.
Prior to that, she served UNDP in Africa for 10 years in Zambia and Kenya (1982-92). She was also UNDP's Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa.
In June 2017, she returned to the UN after being appointed a member of the 3-person Leadership Panel to oversee investigations into chemical weapon use in the Syrian conflict.