Judy Cheng-Hopkins (SHS 1970)

UNITED NATIONS COMMISSIONER

The little poem under her senior picture that introduced Judy Cheng to the readers of the Bandersnatch said,

Life depends on nothing
But inevitability; pluck
Yourself fruit,
Let the field be seeded.

And so she did.

Judy Cheng came to Scarsdale High School as part of an American Field Service exchange. Created in the wake of World War I, the AFS arranged for high school seniors from overseas to live with American families. In turn, American students lived in homes throughout Asia, Latin America and Europe. Scarsdale became involved in AFS as a host community in the mid-1950s. A decade and a half later, Cheng applied through the Malaysian branch of AFS and was placed in the Fox Meadow home of Myron and Delia Cantor.

After her year at Scarsdale High School, Cheng-Hopkins returned to Malaysia to finish her education there and then came back to the U.S. and earned a BA in English from Beloit College and a Masters Degree in Economic Development from Columbia University.

The United Nations came next. Cheng-Hopkins worked with the UN Development program in Zambia from 1982-1988 and in Kenya from 1988-1992. In 1997, she was appointed the World Food Program’s Director of the Bureau for Asia and the Balkans. In that position, she was responsible for emergency operations in Kosovo, North Korea and Afghanistan.

In January 2006, Cheng-Hopkins was given a new assignment, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, one of the top four positions in the UN Structure.
Listen to the reports of a few of her activities: 1) “Ms. Cheng-Hopkins left Afghanistan yesterday for Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, to extend the Tripartite Agreement governing the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Pakistan.” 2) “From Pakistan, she goes to Iran, where there are currently just over 900,000 registered Afghan refugees.” 3) “ . . . Judy Cheng Hopkins told the Washington Times that the large numbers of people fleeing Iraq are straining the neighboring governments’ capacity to cope.”4) “The Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, visited Uganda and Sudan . . . 5) UNHCB Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, concluded . . . a five-day visit to West and South Darfur.”

She cannot be with us this morning. She is trying to seed the world.