Ambassador (retired) Elizabeth M. Cousens is Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation. Before joining the UN Foundation, Amb. Cousens served as the US ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council, and as alternate representative to the UN General Assembly (2012–2014).
She also previously served as Principal Policy Advisor and Counsellor to the Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN (2009–2012). In this capacity, she was lead US negotiator on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including representing the US in the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. She was also sherpa to Ambassador Rice for the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability.
Her prior experience includes director of strategy for the HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, vice-president of the International Peace Institute, director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, chief of staff for UN Mission in Nepal, and chief of donor coordination for the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
Amb. Cousens holds a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford (where she was a Rhodes Scholar), a BA in history, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Puget Sound. She has written widely on conflict management, peace processes, state-building, and the United Nations.