New Leadership at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research in Mid-2020

UNU-CPR welcomes Dr David Passarelli as Executive Director.

United Nations University is pleased to announce the new leadership of the New York-based UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) effective 1 July 2020.

Established in 2014, the Centre for Policy Research is a young, agile think tank within the United Nations system. The Centre combines research excellence with deep knowledge of the multilateral system to generate innovative solutions to current and future global public policy challenges.

Dr David Passarelli has been appointed Executive Director of UNU-CPR and will serve as the overall head of the Centre from 1 July 2020, overseeing new institutional development, partnerships and growth strategies. He will lead research and policy advisory programming in the areas of migration, inequality, and development. He holds a doctorate in International Development from Oxford University and brings over a decade of experience in the UN and UNU systems. He currently serves as the Executive Officer of UNU and Secretary of the UNU Council.

He will work closely with Adam Day, who has been appointed Director of Programmes from 1 July 2020. Mr Day is an accomplished researcher with extensive knowledge and experience of the UN policy community. He has served in several UN field missions (in the Congo, Lebanon, and Sudan) and will continue to lead new and existing programming streams around conflict prevention, transitions and climate-security. He holds degrees from the Fletcher School, UC Berkeley and Brown University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

Dr James Cockayne has led UNU’s New York office for the last six years and will step down as Director of UNU-CPR on 30 June 2020. He will continue with UNU-CPR as a Senior Fellow (Modern Slavery) until mid-2021 and in this capacity will continue to lead Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking, the second phase of the Liechtenstein Initiative sponsored by Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and Australia; and Delta 8.7, a knowledge platform focused on Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7.

UNU Rector and UN Under-Secretary-General David M. Malone states: “We are deeply grateful to James for his tireless and very effective work in building up UNU’s policy contributions to the UN. Both David and Adam possess significant policy development capacity, as well as rare related research skills in complementary fields of UN endeavour. I am confident that they will achieve great success.”

Dr Passarelli will join UNU-CPR as the Director-designate on 1 May 2020.

Related content


SDG–UP Public Symposium

TOKYO & ONLINE: This event will highlight sustainability initiatives at the SDG–Universities Platform member universities and their role in achieving the SDGs.