In 1998 Arthur Holcombe established TPAF to promote livelihoods and well being in poor rural areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. In 2009 TPAF expanded its poverty reduction work to other poor regions of Western China and, most recently,  to Gaza. Arthur continues to serve as TPAF President.

From 1992-1998 Arthur Holcombe was Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Resident Coordinator of UN Operational Activities in China, and during this period was also accredited to the People’s Republic of China as the UN Resident Coordinator and representative of the UN Secretary General. During 1992-1998, Dr. Holcombe initiated many programs and workshops to promote poverty reduction, employment, environmental protection, improved basic health and education and increased HIV/AIDS awareness.

Prior to 1992 Arthur Holcombe served in many postings with UNDP, including as Deputy and Acting Resident Representative in Afghanistan (1975-79); as Deputy Resident Representative in Pakistan (1979); as Resident Representative of UNDP in the South Pacific based in Fiji (1980-1984); and as Resident Representative in the Sudan (1984-1985). During 1989-91 he was Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific of UNDP at its headquarters in New York.

Since 2000 Dr. Holcombe has also lectured on various development and aid strategy topics at the Brandeis University Heller School of Social Policy and at Beijing Normal University.

Arthur Holcombe has an A.B. from Harvard College (Government), an M.P.I.A. from the University of Pittsburgh (Economic and Social Development) and a Ph. D. from New York University (Economics).