Today I announce the appointment of Ms Gillian Bird PSM as Australia’s next Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.
Ms Bird is a senior career diplomat. She was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in December 2004, and served concurrently as Australia's first Ambassador to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) from 2008 to 2013.
Prior to these appointments, she served as First Assistant Secretary, International Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, she also led the Foreign and Trade Policy White Paper Task Force (Advancing the National Interest), as well as the Department’s South and South-East Asia, International Organisations and Legal, and International Security Divisions.
Overseas, she has served in UN New York, Harare and Paris OECD, having joined the Department in 1980.
Ms Bird holds a BA (First Class Hons), University of Sydney, and is a graduate of the French École Nationale d'Administration. In 2012, she was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in the field of international relations.
Australia is a founding member of the United Nations (UN) and is an active participant in UN institutions. Since its founding in 1945, the UN has played a central role in maintaining international peace and security and addressing global issues such as on the environment, development, human rights and gender equality. Australia’s long-standing commitment to the UN is demonstrated through its term of service on the UN Security Council.
Ms Bird will take up her appointment in January 2015 after the conclusion of Australia’s term on the UN Security Council. She will replace Mr Gary Quinlan, who has been Australia’s representative in New York since May 2009.
I wish to place on record my appreciation for the work done by Mr Quinlan in New York. Having played a central role in the campaign to win a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, he has now served on that body with great distinction.
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