Today I announce the appointment of Ms Melissa Hitchman as Australia’s next Ambassador to the Holy See.

Australia enjoys warm and friendly relations with the Holy See through a formal diplomatic relationship established in 1973.  We pursue shared goals and objectives in support of strong global action on conflict prevention, peace-building, sustainable development and climate change.  We also have a wide-ranging dialogue on human rights, political and religious freedom, global governance, and the prevention of people smuggling and human trafficking.

Ms Hitchman is an experienced career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Deputy Chief of Protocol, a position she has held since 2013.  She has previously served overseas as First Secretary at the Australian High Commission in London.

In Canberra, Ms Hitchman has served as Director, Regional and National Security Section; Director, Intelligence Review; and Director, International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament Secretariat.  Ms Hitchman was also an Adviser, International Division, in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Ms Hitchman holds a Master of National Security and a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from the Australian National University.

I thank former Ambassador John McCarthy QC for his contribution to advancing Australia’s interests with the Holy See since 2012.

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