Global Americans and the Canadian Council for the Americas present “Two Gringos with Questions,” an interview series featuring political and cultural leaders from across the Americas.
In this episode, hosts Chris and Ken speak to Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). PM Clark joins the podcast to talk about China, her work with the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the potential of middle powers, and more.
Prime Minister Helen Clark is currently a commissioner of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a group composed of 14 former heads of state and other experienced leaders who advocate for drug policies based on scientific evidence, human rights, public health, and safety, for all segments of the population. She is a global leader on sustainable development, gender equality and international cooperation.
Prior to her work at the Commission, PM Clark was the Administrator of the UNDP and the Chair of the United Nations Development Group from 2009 to 2017. She was the first woman to assume these positions. Before joining the UNDP, Helen Clark was the first woman elected as Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving three successive terms from 1999 to 2008. Under her leadership, New Zealand achieved significant economic growth, low levels of unemployment, and high levels of investment in education and health, and signed a free trade agreement with China.
PM Clark had an extensive parliamentary and ministerial career prior to taking on her role as prime minister. PM Clark was Leader of the opposition and of the Labour Party until her election in 1999. She also served as Deputy Leader of the opposition and of the Labour Party from 1990 to 1993, Deputy Prime Minister between 1989 and 1990, Minister for Conservation of Housing, Health and Labour from 1987 to 1990, and in 1981 won the Mount Albert seat in Parliament—to which she was re-elected in 2008.
Prior to entering the New Zealand Parliament, PM Clark taught at the University of Auckland. She received her BA (1971) and MA (1974) from the University of Auckland.