Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ (born 26 February 1950) is the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, the third-highest UN position, and was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008. She led the Labour Party from 1993 until it lost the 2008 general election. Before resigning from Parliament in April 2009, Clark was Labour's foreign affairs spokeswoman and MP for the Mount Albert electorate which she had held since 1981. Forbes magazine ranked her 20th most powerful woman in the world in 2006.
Clark was the eldest of four daughters of a Waikato farming family. Her mother, Margaret McMurray, of Irish birth, was a primary school teacher. Her father, George, was a farmer. Clark studied at Te Pahu Primary School, at Epsom Girls' Grammar School in Auckland and at the University of Auckland, where she majored in politics and graduated with an MA (Honours) in 1974. Her thesis focused on rural political behaviour and representation.
As a teenager Clark became politically active, protesting against the Vietnam War and campaigning against foreign military bases in New Zealand. She has declared herself agnostic.