After leaving the law firm of Shearman & Sterling in 1983 to join the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as the first woman Legal Adviser appointed to a mission, Nina served with the United Nations for over 33 years.
She dealt extensively with legal, rule of law, peacekeeping, development, and gender matters while serving in various offices at UN Headquarters and in six UN peacekeeping operations, deployed at critical historic junctures in Lebanon (as UNIFIL Legal Adviser), Namibia (as UNTAG Deputy Legal Adviser), Cambodia (as UNTAC Senior Legal Adviser), Croatia (as UNPF Special Assistant to the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG)), Kosovo (as UNMIK Chief of Staff to the SRSG), and East Timor (as UNTAET Director/Office of the DSRSG).
While working in the Office of Legal Affairs for over a decade, she handled diverse peacekeeping matters, and then transferred to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in 1997 during a surge in peacekeeping activity worldwide. She assumed wide-ranging functions in DPKO, most recently as Principal Officer to the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (until August 2016), where she developed proposals for strengthening the gender architecture of multidimensional UN peacekeeping missions and the integration of gender expertise throughout mission planning and assessment processes. She also contributed submissions for the high-level “Independent Global Study on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.”
Among earlier assignments, she served as DPKO’s Deputy Director of the Asia and Middle East Division (and the Asia Integrated Operational Team Leader), Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Head of the Rule of Law Project. She also undertook a number of special assignments with other UN entities, including as Principal Officer to the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Iraq, Special Gender Adviser to the Under-Secretary-General of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (where she co-chaired a Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women comprising 23 UN regional entities), and Special Peace and Security Adviser to the Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (where she led the organization of two international conferences on gender justice in post-conflict situations).
During special leave from the UN, Nina served as a 2013 Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow and then as a 2014 Senior Fellow. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Islamic Law from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Nina is actively involved in various legal, social justice and gender initiatives, including as a member of a number of U.S. and international professional legal and foreign policy organizations. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Stockholm-based International Legal Assistance Consortium, which provides assistance to strengthen justice systems in conflict-affected and fragile countries, and on the Advisory Board of PassBlue, an independent digital publication offering in-depth journalism on the US-UN relationship as well as human rights, peacekeeping, women’s issues, and other urgent global matters.
She has long supported the Seeds of Peace mission, having visited its summer camp program in Maine and participated as a speaker at the Seeds of Peace’s GATHER+962 initiative in Jordan.