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Woman to head UN disarmament research body

world Updated: Nov 15, 2008 14:13 IST

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced has appointed an American woman with a long career in security affairs to head the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

Theresa A Hitchens, 49, will be the fifth Director of the independent Geneva-based body and will take up her duties next January.

She brings to the body "years of experience in research and writing on a broad array of subjects in the field of international security, defence, disarmament and non-proliferation," Ban said in a statement.

The new UNIDIR head currently serves as the Director of the Space Security Project of the Centre for Defence Information (CDI) in Washington.

Prior to that, she was the Research Director of the Washington affiliate of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), where she was tasked with managing the organisation's research and advocacy in nuclear and conventional arms control, European security and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) affairs.

UNIDIR commenced operations in 1980, and has produced policy-oriented research on topics as diverse as nuclear materials, confidence-building measures in South Asia, control of small arms ammunition, the security of refugee camps, disarmament as humanitarian action, peacekeeping, and remote sensing technologies in the service of peace and disarmament, among other activities.