Dr James Cockayne



Dr James Cockayne is Director of United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. He previously served as Senior Fellow at the International Peace Institute, Co-Director of the Centre for Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, Principal Legal Officer in the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, and Chair of the Editorial Committee of the Journal of International Criminal Justice.

At the UN, he has worked in war crimes trials and counter-terrorism in Africa; conducted the background research for the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ 2014 study on Privacy in the Digital Age; conceived and helped draft the Code of Ethics that now binds the President of the General Assembly; and helped draft the Secretary-General’s Strategy on New Technologies (2018). United Nations University’s presence in New York has grown ten-fold in the five years under his leadership.

Dr Cockayne’s current research focuses on the impact of artificial intelligence on global order and on evidence-based solutions to modern slavery. He leads Delta 8.7 - a global online knowledge platform focused on what works to end modern slavery - and the Secretariat for the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. He is the author of Hidden Power: The Strategic Logic of Organized Crime(Oxford University Press, 2016).

He earned a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, the Jerome Lipper Prize in International Legal Studies at New York University and the University Medal in Government and Public Administration at the University of Sydney.