Mr Joel Cohen currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Field Operations, part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Group. He recently returned from eighteen months in Dili, where he served as the Chief of Administrative Services in the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste.
Mr Cohen joined UN peacekeeping (in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations) in March 2001, and was appointed Special Assistant in 2003. From late 2001 through 2002, Mr Cohen was a member of the UN team responsible for the establishment of the new UN peace operation in Afghanistan. From 1999 to the spring of 2001, Mr Cohen was seconded to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) in Sarajevo, where he held the position of Chief Budget Officer. Prior to his assignment to Sarajevo, from 1996 to 1999, Mr Cohen served as a finance officer with the Department of Management, in UN Headquarters. During 1995-1996, Mr Cohen held the position of Chief of Finance and Budget Services for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia located in The Hague.
Mr Cohen, an Australian national, joined the United Nations in 1992 after being recruited through the United Nations National Competitive Examination (NCE) program. Mr Cohen’s first position in the organisation was a program budget officer within the Department of Management, based in Headquarters, New York. Between 1992 and 1995, Mr Cohen was responsible for financing arrangements in connection with the establishment of United Nations tribunals in Tanzania, The Netherlands and Germany.
Prior to his service in the United Nations, Mr Cohen held various positions in both the private and non-profit sectors, including an international relations and teaching posting in Japan and working as a financial analyst with the National Australia Bank in Australia.
In addition to his regular duties, Mr Cohen serves as the Deputy Chair of the UN Operational Working Group on Safety and Security, which was created in the autumn of 2008 to address the increased threat to United Nations personnel serving in the field, and to promote and strengthen a culture of safety and security within the global United Nations system.
Mr Cohen grew up in Perth, Australia and holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from The University of Western Australia. When not at work, Mr Cohen likes to spend his free time with his family.