17 July 2008
Secretary-General
SG/A/1144
BIO/3995

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note


SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS ALEXANDER DOWNER OF AUSTRALIA

 

AS SPECIAL ADVISER ON CYPRUS

 


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Alexander Downer, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, as his Special Adviser on Cyprus.  He, as a highly respected diplomat, is expected to play an impartial role in helping resolve the Cyprus problem.


Mr. Downer was Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs throughout the term of the Howard Government, from March 1996 until November 2007.  As Foreign Minister, Mr. Downer was deeply engaged in the effort to achieve independence in Timor-Leste, and also played a leadership role in the Bougainville peace process.  Mr. Downer was a diplomat in the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1976 to 1982, serving in the Australian Mission to the European Union, the Australian Representation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and at Australian embassies in Belgium and Luxembourg.


He was the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party from May 1994 to January 1995.  Mr. Downer has held the seat of Mayo for the Liberal Party continuously since 1984.


Prior to entering Parliament, Mr. Downer held a number of senior positions in Government and the private sector.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in politics and economics and is a Doctor of Civil Laws (honoris causa).  He also holds an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Bar Ilan University.


Mr. Downer was born in 1951.  He is married and has four children.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record