Alexander Downer retired from politics in 2008 following a distinguished career spanning 23 years, during which he was Australia’s longest-serving Minister for Foreign Affairs from March 1996 until December 2007.

He also served as the Leader of the Federal Opposition and Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party from May 1994 to January 1995.

Born in South Australia and educated at Geelong Grammar and Radley College Oxford, prior to entering Federal Parliament Mr Downer held a number of senior positions in government and the private sector, including as an economist with Westpac Bank, a diplomat in the Australian missions to the European Union and NATO, and as an embassy representative in Belgium and Luxembourg.

He also held a senior advisory role to former Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Malcolm Fraser, and since 2008 he has served as Secretary General of the United Nations’ Special Advisor on Cyprus at the level of Under Secretary General.

He is also a Visiting Professor of Politics and International Trade at the University of Adelaide, and is a partner in the strategic business advisory firm Bespoke Approach as well as serving on a number of  boards.