Peacekeeping event: Full Biographies

27 May 2020


Cecile Hillyer, Divisional Manager

International Security and Disarmament Division, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

Cecile Hillyer leads the team which covers defence and national security policy coordination, transnational organised crime, emerging threats policy such as cyber security and space, disarmament and non-proliferation issues, as well as counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.

Prior to taking up her current role in September 2019, Cecile was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2016, first as Director Intelligence and Assessments, including responsibility for the National Assessments Bureau, then as Acting Deputy Chief Executive, National Security Group. These responsibilities covered national intelligence assessments and intelligence coordination, then national security policy including cyber security, emergency management, and security and intelligence policy.

In her career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Cecile has been Director of Global Development for the New Zealand Aid Programme, leading teams engaging in bilateral development in regions outside the Pacific, and Ambassador to Mexico. Other postings have included Moscow, London and Noumea.


Group Captain Carol Abraham MSS, BSc(Hons), awc,
psc(j), RNZAF, New Zealand Defence Force

Carol Abraham joined the RNZAF in 1989, graduating
university in 1992 and then as aircrew Navigator in 1994.
She served on RNZAF tactical transport aircraft, as a UN
Military Observer, and as Detachment Commander for NZDF
Air Transport operations in the Middle East.
Command roles include CO Ground Training Wing, Mission
Commander for VIP Air Transport tasks, and Deputy Chief of
Air Force. Various staff roles have spanned HQ Air Command
(training), HQ Air Staff (plans and strategy), and HQ Joint
Forces Command (operations).
In 2015, Wing Commander Abraham posted to Air Advisor –
Canberra (Australia). In 2017 she was promoted to Group
Captain, as Defence Advisor, New Zealand Defence Staff -
Canberra. In 2018 she posted to Assistant Chief of Air Force
– Strategy Management, and in 2019 was appointed interim

Deputy Chief of Air Force, for a 10 month (extended) period,
in rank of acting Air Commodore.
In 2020 Group Captain Abraham returned to her role as
ACAF - Strategy Management. Group Captain Abraham is a
graduate of the NZDF Staff Course (2004) and USAF Air War
College (2015). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
[BSc (Hons)]; a Master of Strategic Studies [MSS (Merit)]
(Victoria, NZ) and an MSS – Grand Strategy (Air University,




Wing Commander Jennifer Atkinson, New Zealand Defence Force 

Wing Commander Jennifer Atkinson has recently been appointed the NZDF 1325 National Action Plan implementation officer. She joined the Airforce as a psychologist in 2001 and held a number of positions across the organisation. 

Deployments include Solomon Islands and the Middle East but the career highlight was her time as Chief of Staff and Programme Manager for Women, Peace and Security during a 4 month deployment for Pacific Partnership in 2015.  Jennifer lives in Wellington with her family and enjoys trail running on the steep Welly tracks. 


Associate Professor Bethan Greener, Massey University and Senior Fellow centre for Strategic Studies 

Beth Greener is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Massey University. She has published three books on international security topics as well as numerous book chapters and articles on subjects such as international policing, police-military roles in peace and stability operations, the liberal peacebuilding agenda, and New Zealand’s foreign and defence policy. Her current research focuses on gender and security, particularly on how countries are implementing the UN’s Women, Peace and Security agenda.  


Dr Negar Parton, Senior Lecturer in Strategic Studies Massey University and UNANZ Special Officer for UN Security Council (Moderator) 

Dr Negar Partow is a senior lecturer in the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. She received her Masters’ degrees from Iran and New Zealand and completed her PhD in Victoria University of Wellington. Negar has been a university lecturer in NZ since 2002. Her areas of expertise are International Security, Middle East and Southeast Asia, Gender Studies and body politics, Human security and Human Rights, Islam and politics, Identity politics and Diversity, Ethics, Posthumanism and Multiculturalism. Negar is a regular media commentator and an enthusiastic human rights activist. Negar is involved with various civil society groups and has been working on diverse international security topics including social inclusion and diversity. In 2018 she was chosen as a finalist in the Westpac NZ Women of Influence Awards in the diversity category for her commentary on hot geo-political discussions & contribution to human rights, global security & education.


Peter Nichols, UNANZ President (Convenor)

Peter Nichols has been the National President of the United Nations Association of New Zealand since May 2018, and currently works at the Environmental Protection Authority. He has worked overseas in a variety of countries including in Australia and Asia, including East Timor in 1991/92 to implement the peace accords with the United Nations Angola Verification Mission ll. He has a first-class honours Master’s degree in Strategic Studies, is an Associate Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management, and is a graduate of the Australian and Indonesian Command and Staff Colleges. He is a past Chair of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, a member of the New Zealand Indonesia Association and Council, and has been actively involved in the Scouting movement. 

quote mark