Dr. Roland Rich, an Australian national, assumed his position as Executive Head of the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) in 2007. UNDEF’s primary purpose is supporting democratization around the world by funding projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. Dr. Rich is concurrently Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) which serves as a gateway for corporate and philanthropic partnership opportunities with the UN family.
Dr. Rich brings to the job over 30 years of experience as a diplomat, a scholar and a democracy promotion practitioner. Prior to his appointment to UNDEF, Dr. Rich was at the Australian Defence College, teaching and mentoring colonel-level officers. In 2005, Mr. Rich was a research Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC. Between 1998 and 2005, he was the Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Australian National University which is Australia’s democracy promotion institute for the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Rich joined the Australian foreign service in 1975 and had postings in Paris, Rangoon, Manila and, from 1994-1997, as Australian Ambassador to Laos. He has also served as Legal Advisor and Assistant Secretary for International Organisations.
In 2004, he edited The UN Role in Promoting Democracy. In 2007 he published Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy. His most recent book is Parties and Parliaments in Southeast Asia – Non-Partisan Chambers in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, published by Routledge in 2012.