Helen Clark, Head of the United Nations Development Programme, and the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, is joined in conversation by Jonathan Fanton FDR Visiting Fellow and Interim Director, Roosevelt House.

About the United Nations Development Program

Since 1966, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been partnering with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of live for everyone. UNDP works in four main areas: poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); democratic governance; crisis prevention and recovery; environment and sustainable development.


The Phyllis L. Kossoff Lecture is an annual forum that brings leading figures in public life to Roosevelt House for conversation and reflection on pressing issues of international and domestic concern. 


Helen Clark  Head of the United Nations Development Programme and the former Prime Minister of New Zealand

Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme in April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.

Prior to her UNDP appointment, Helen Clark served as Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999-2008. Under her leadership, New Zealand achieved significant economic growth, low levels of unemployment, and high levels of investment in education and health, and in the well-being of families and older citizens. She and her government prioritized reconciliation and the settlement of historical grievances with New Zealand’s indigenous people and the development of an inclusive multicultural and multi-faith society. As Prime Minister, Helen Clark was a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

First elected to Parliament in 1981, Helen Clark was Deputy Prime Minister from 1989 to 1990, and from 1990 to 1999 served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition and as Leader of the Opposition. Before entering Parliament, she taught in the Political Science department at the University of Auckland.

Jonathan Fanton  FDR Visiting Fellow and Interim Director, Roosevelt House

Jonathan Fanton is a Franklin D. Roosevelt Visiting Fellow at Hunter College and was President of The MacArthur Foundation from 1999-2009. Mr. Fanton holds a Ph.D in American History from Yale University where he taught and was Chief of Staff to President Kingman Brewster. He was Vice President of Planning at The University of Chicago and for 17 years was President of The New School for Social Research.

He is author of Foundations and Civil Society, Volume I and II (2008), and The University and Civil Society, Volume I and II (1995, 2002).

Dr. Fanton currently serves as Interim Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College which is dedicated to innovative approaches to teaching, research, and public programming. Located in the heart of New York City, the Institute provides a platform from which high quality scholarship effectively informs and influences public debate and public life. The mission of Roosevelt House is three-fold: to educate students in public policy and human rights, to support faculty research, and to foster creative dialogue.

The 2013 Phyllis L. Kossoff Lecture – Helen Clark (UNDP) in conversation with Jonathan Fanton | Posted on May 23rd, 2013 | Book Discussions, Kossoff Lectures, Public Programs