National University of Singapore honours ESCAP Executive Secretary with 2011 Eminent Alumni Award

The National University of Singapore, a leading global centre of higher education, has honoured the top United Nations official in the Asia-Pacific region with its eminent alumni award for 2011.

The award was conferred today during a ceremony at the National University of Singapore on Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Dr. Noeleen Heyzer.

“The NUS Eminent Alumni award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves nationally or internationally, and whose excellent and sustained contributions and achievements in public and community service inspire others,” the University said.

Previous recipients of the award, instituted in 2005, include Singaporean statesmen Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, and former President S.R. Nathan. The ninth Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr. Heyzer was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General in August 2007 and is the first woman to occupy this position since ESCAP was founded in 1947.

Since taking office, Dr. Heyzer has positioned ESCAP, the regional arm of the United Nations, as a powerful comprehensive platform for promoting regional co-operation among member states to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

Prior to her appointment to ESCAP, Dr. Heyzer was the first Executive Director from the South to head the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Dr. Heyzer has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science from the University of Singapore. She obtained a Doctorate in social sciences from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.