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Peacebuilding: what is it and why is it important?


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Speaker(s): Judy Cheng-Hopkins
Chair: Dr Stuart Gordon

Recorded on 4 March 2014 in Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.

Peacebuilding has become a buzzword over the past decade. Yet, there are many diverging ideas of what peacebuilding is and what it entails. The United Nations is not exempt from such uncertainty, diverging interpretations, and misunderstandings, as well as the resulting conceptual and practical debates. Assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, will seek to outline the concept of peacebuilding, its practical significance, and translation into operational activity, with a particular focus on the work and engagement of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, which finances activities of UN agencies, funds and programmes in fragile states around the world.

Judy Cheng-Hopkins has been the United Nations assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support since 2009. She was previously the assistant high commissioner for refugees (2006-2009), the director of the Asia Bureau and the Balkans at the World Food Programme (WFP), and served UNDP in Africa for ten years. She received a masters of international affairs degree from SIPA, Columbia University. In 2011, she was listed by Forbes as one of the ten most powerful women at the UN. In 2013, she received the prestigious Global Leadership Award from Columbia University.

Stuart Gordon is assistant professor in the Department of International Development at LSE.

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