Denis Halliday

Former UN Assistant to Secretary General

Previously Aired On: April 24, 2007 – Archive Not Currently Available


Denis Halliday has spent most of his long career with the United Nations in economic development and humanitarian assistance-related posts both in New York and overseas, primarily in South-East Asia. Following a year in Kenya as a Quaker volunteer 1962-63, Halliday joinedthe United Nations in 1964 serving in Tehran, Iran as a junior professional officer in the forerunner of UNDP – the United Nations Technical Assistance Board and Special Fund.


From 1966 to 1972, he served in the Asia Bureau of UNDP Headquarters in New York and then transferred to Malaysia in 1972. In Malaysia, covering programmes in that country plus Singapore and Brunei, he served until 1977 as Deputy Regional Representative. In Indonesia, he continued at the Deputy level for two years until 1979, when he was asked to reopen and head up as Resident Representative the UNDP office in Samoa covering that country, the Cook Islands, the Tokelau Islands and Niue in the South Pacific. In 1985, he took up the post of Deputy Director, Division of Personnel before becoming Chef de Cabinet in 1987.

From mid 1994, Halliday served as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management of the United Nations, based in its New York Headquarters. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Halliday to the post of United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, Iraq as of 1 September 1997, at the Assistant Secretary-General level. In October 1998 he resigned after a 34 year career with the UN. He did so to free himself of the constraints imposed on him by the Secretary-General and thereby speak out publicly on the terrible impact of UN economic sanctions on the people of Iraq.

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