Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Jordan

Media release

Davos

30 January 2012

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today announced that Ms Heidi Venamore PSM will be Australia's next Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Ms Venamore is expected to take up her appointment next month and will replace Mr Glenn White, who has been Ambassador since January 2009.

Australia and Jordan enjoy a long history of friendship and cooperation with valuable historical links dating back to the First World War when Australians served as part of the Allied forces in the region, including in modern-day Jordan.

This partnership has broadened and deepened over the years to encompass trade, agriculture, investment, education, defence cooperation and over 50 years of cultural cooperation, including on archaeological research. Recent new areas of bilateral cooperation include law enforcement, such as regional police training, and customs cooperation. Bilateral merchandise trade stood at $189 million for 2010-11.

Australia has also cooperated with Jordan on addressing the problem of land mines, and has helped to clear land mines from Jordan's northern border with Syria. Through $2.25 million of Australian funding, more than 130,000 landmines have been cleared, reducing the risk of injury to Jordanians living and working in the area.

Jordan is a strategically significant country in the Middle East, bordering Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria. It is one of only two Arab countries to have reached a peace agreement with Israel. Australia has welcomed Jordan's recent initiatives to promote talks between the parties to the Middle East peace process. Australia strongly supports initiatives that work towards a negotiated two-state solution.

Ms Venamore is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Since September 2008, she has served as Counsellor, Australian High Commission, London. Ms Venamore was Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy Baghdad from 2003 until 2005, a member of DFAT's Iraq Task Force (2002-2003), and worked as a consultant for the World Bank's West Bank and Gaza mission (1997-1999).

Ms Venamore holds a Masters degree in International Law from Cambridge University (FCO Chevening Scholarship), Bachelors of Arts and Law from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Australian National University. Ms Venamore has studied Arabic and has worked throughout the Middle East.

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