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Ms Janet Lim


Former Assistant High Commissioners for Operations, UNHCR


Janet Lim has recently retired from the United Nations, after a career which spanned 34 years.

She joined UNHCR, the UN refugee agency in 1980 and has served in various positions both in UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva and in the field. Her field assignments have included UNHCR's country and emergency operations in different parts of the world, including Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Western Sahara and Syria.

In Geneva, she served in senior positions which included being Director of the Emergency and Security Services, Director of the Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, and during her last 5 years, she was the Assistant High Commissioner (Operations). In this latter capacity she oversaw the work of five regional bureaux responsible for UNHCR's operations globally, as well as two functional Divisions providing support to the field.

Ms Lim has particular expertise in managing complex emergency operations where populations have been forcibly displaced as a result of war and conflict. She was closely associated with the establishment of UNHCR's emergency response capacity and mechanisms.

During her career with the UN, she has also been seconded at a senior level to UNAIDS and to the peacekeeping operation, UNAMA  in Afghanistan.

Ms Lim is a graduate of the University of Singapore.

After a stint in the Administrative Service of the Singapore Civil Service, she pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, majoring in Development studies, before joining the United Nations.

Ms Lim is currently a Fellow, School of Social Sciences, as well as an Advisory Board member of the Institute for Societal Leadership in the Singapore Management University.