The Rt Hon Helen Clark ONZ SSI PC

Graduation Office
Tuesday 28 May 2024

The Rt Hon Helen Clark will be awarded LLD on Tuesday 11 June 2024 during the afternoon graduation ceremony.

Helen Clark served as Prime Minister of New Zealand for three successive terms from 1999 to 2008. Throughout her tenure as Prime Minister and as a Member of Parliament for 27 years, Helen engaged widely in policy development and advocacy across the international, economic, social, environmental, and cultural spheres.

She advocated strongly for New Zealand’s comprehensive programme on sustainability and for tackling the problems of climate change. She was an active leader of her country’s foreign relations, engaging in a wide range of international issues.

In 2009, Helen became Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the first woman to lead the organisation, and served two terms.

Helen Clark

Helen Clark came to the role of Prime Minister after an extensive parliamentary and ministerial career. Prior to being elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 1981, Helen taught in the Political Studies Department of the University of Auckland, from which she earlier graduated with BA and MA (Hons) degrees.

While serving as the Administrator of the UNDP, she was also Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of all UN funds, programmes, agencies and departments working on development issues. During her tenure as Administrator of the UNDP, she led the organisation to be ranked the most transparent global development organisation. She completed her tenure in 2017.

Helen continues to be a strong voice for sustainable development, climate action, gender equality and women’s leadership, peace and justice, and action on pressing global health issues. In July 2020 she was appointed by the Director-General of the World Health Organisation as a Co-Chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, called for by the World Health Assembly, which reported in May 2021.

She chairs the boards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and other public good organisations and initiatives, and is a board member of others.

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