Penang girl Judy heads UN Peacebuilders


Judy Cheng-Hopkins of Loh Boon Siew Road is the highest ranking Malaysian in the United Nations (UN). Her long career in development and humanitarian work in Africa and Asia spans 32 years. Her secret is to aim “outwards and upwards”. Being “at the right place at the right time with the right gender” also helps, she admits.

When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Penang girl Judy Cheng-Hopkins as Assistant Secretary- General for Peacebuilding Support (PBSO) on April 17, 2009, she became the highest ranking Malaysian in the organisation. Judy was in Penang in July this year to deliver a keynote address at the “Gender Mainstreaming: Justice for All” conference organised by the Society for Good Governance and Gender Equality, Penang. I was her sixth form mate in St. Xavier’s Institution (SXI), and we started a conversation during the conference which continued over email while Judy was somewhere in between New York and Burundi.

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