Dr Shazelina Zainul Abidin received her PhD from the University of Sheffield in March 2016. Her thesis, accepted without amendments, was on the topic of “The Politics of the Responsibility to Protect: Why States are Not Authorising the United Nations to Implement the R2P”. In her writings, Dr. Abidin drew upon her experience negotiating the R2P as a country delegate when it was first brought to the General Assembly in 2009 as well as her network of contacts who dealt with the R2P.

Dr. Abidin has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia since 1996, and has served in Washington D.C. in addition to her four-year stint at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. She confesses to having a soft spot for human rights as a foreign policy matter, and has held various desks at the Ministry including heading the human rights division, the communications division, and also handling multilateral economic matters.

She was the Head of Mission at Malaysia's Embassy in Senegal from 2018 to 2021, with concurrent accreditation to Mali, the Gambia, Cabo Verde and Burkina Faso, and she maintains a regular monthly column in the Malaysian daily, The New Straits Times. She maintains strong ties to the academic world, and still holds the post of Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield.