22 January 2009
Diplomatic appointment - Ambassador to Nepal
Ms Susan Grace is to be Australia's new Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, succeeding Mr Graeme Lade who has been Ambassador since January 2006. Ms Grace is expected to take up her appointment in February 2009.
Australia welcomed Nepal's decision last year to open an embassy in Canberra, reflecting the strength of bilateral relations that have developed since diplomatic relations were established in 1960. Australia opened a resident diplomatic mission in Kathmandu in 1984.
The Nepalese Constituent Assembly elections in April 2008, to which Australia provided an election observer delegation, were an important milestone in Nepal’s progress towards lasting political stability.
Two-way merchandise trade between our countries in 2007-08 totalled A$22 million. Australia’s principal exports to Nepal are non-monetary gold, soft oil seeds, telecommunications equipment and fresh vegetables, while Nepal’s primary exports to Australia are floor coverings, clothing and jewellery. The number of Nepalese students studying in Australia has been rapidly increasing with almost 16, 760 enrolled as at October 2008.
The largest Australian investment to date involves the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation in a project to develop a US$1.6 billion hydropower scheme on the West Seti River.
Australia's development cooperation program with Nepal began in the 1960s. In 2008-09 Australia’s total development cooperation is A$8.2 million and focuses on access to primary education, improving basic health outcomes, strengthening governance and reducing poverty. Australia also has significant consular interests in Nepal with approximately 11,000 Australian tourists visiting Nepal each year.
Ms Susan Grace is currently Director, Counter-Terrorism Policy Section, and has worked in a variety of positions in Canberra. Overseas, Ms Grace has had extensive experience in the region, having served as Deputy Head of Mission, Tehran (2003‑06), First Secretary, New Delhi (1997-2000), and for a short-term mission as Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad (1998-1999). Ms Grace joined the Department in 1991 and was the Department’s first exchange officer to the Japanese Government in 1994.
Ms Grace holds a BA (Japanese, Political Science) from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma (Japanese) from Swinburne University, and a Master of International Law from the Australian National University. Ms Grace is married.
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