The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA006 - 13 January 2006

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Lebanon

I have today announced the appointment of Ms Lyndall Sachs as Australia's Ambassador to Lebanon. Ms Sachs will replace Ms Stephanie Shwabsky, who has been Ambassador since March 2002. She is expected to take up her appointment in March 2006.

Australia and Lebanon share a close and long-standing relationship, underpinned by extensive community links. The 300,000 plus Lebanese community in Australia make a notable contribution to the harmony and prosperity of contemporary Australian society, while the 20,000 plus Australian passport holders living in Lebanon ensure that Australia remains well-known there.

Reflecting Australia's active interest in the post-war reconstruction of Lebanon, the Australian Embassy in Beirut was re-opened in 1995.

Lebanon's continued development into an open and service-oriented economy provides opportunities for trade and commercial relations between Australia and Lebanon to grow. In 2004 total two-way merchandise trade amounted to $45 million. Australia remains a strong advocate of Lebanon's right to sovereignty and independence and actively supported the free and fair elections held in Lebanon in May/June 2005.

Ms Sachs is a senior staff member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is currently Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary and Media Branch and departmental Senior Spokesperson, a position she has held since 2004. Prior to this she was Director, Media Liaison Section (2001-04).

Before joining DFAT in 2001, Ms Sachs worked for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), London, as Public Advocacy Officer and Senior Media Spokesperson (1997-2001). She has also held the positions of Refugee Initiatives Manager, Marie Stopes International (1996-97), and UNHCR Senior Public Information Officer in London (1994-95), Goma (formerly Zaire) (1994) and Belgrade (1991-94). Ms Sachs also held a variety of positions in the then Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, (1988-91) and the then Public Service Board (1982-88).

Ms Sachs was born in Sydney in 1960. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) majoring in History and Japanese from the University of Queensland.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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