Thinking Aloud

A S'porean story on the road less travelled

Noeleen Heyzer’s life story offers valuable lessons and inspiration to young Singaporeans in tackling the varied challenges of the future

In this photo from 2002, Ms Noeleen Heyzer is with displaced women and children in Afghanistan.PHOTO: NOELEEN HEYZER

Ms Noeleen Heyzer, the highest-ranking Singaporean at the United Nations until her retirement in 2015, was largely unknown in her own country.

I vaguely remember reading the news about her appointment as the UN Under-Secretary-General in charge of the Economic Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) in 2007, the first woman to head it, and the first person outside of North America to oversee the UN Development Fund for Women.

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