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

Media Release

30 November 2006

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Nigeria

I have today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Russell Hart as Australia’s High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria with concurrent accreditation to Chad. 

Mr Hart will replace Iain Dickie who has been High Commissioner since February 2004.  He is expected to take up his appointment in February 2007.

Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and is highly influential in regional and international affairs. Nigeria has made a significant contribution to peace keeping efforts in a number of African countries in recent years. Nigeria also plays a substantial role in Commonwealth affairs and is a valued partner for Australia in this forum.

Australia's relations with Nigeria remain close, based on shared democratic values and membership of the Commonwealth

Mr Hart’s appointment also comes at a time of growing Australian commercial engagement in West Africa, particularly in the mining industry.

Mr Hart was Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, The Hague until July 2006. He has previously served as Counsellor (Economic), Australian High Commission, Wellington (1999-2000), First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Vienna (1990-94), First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Mexico (1981-85), Second Secretary, Australian Mission to the United Nations, New York (1975-78) and Third Secretary, Australian High Commission, Nauru (1974-75). From 1994 to 1996, Mr Hart was seconded to the United Nations Drug Control Program, serving as country Director for Colombia.

Mr Hart has also held a number of positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including Director for Services Trade and Negotiations (2001-2003), Director of the Treaties Secretariat (1997-98), and Acting Director of the United Nations Social and Technical Agencies Section, (1989-90). He was Director of the DFAT State Office in Western Australia (1986-87).

Mr Hart holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree and a Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne and Master of Economics degree from Monash University. He was a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Accounting and Finance at Monash University before joining DFAT. He speaks Spanish.

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

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