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Hon. Alexander Downer was a member of the Australian Parliament for 23 years. He was Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs throughout the term of the Howard Government, from March 1996 until December 2007, and was also the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party from May 1994 to January 1995.

Prior to entering Parliament, Mr. Downer held a number of senior positions in government and the private sector.  He was an Economist at Westpac Bank from 1975 to 1976; a Diplomat at Australian Department of Foreign Affairs from 1976 to 1982, serving at the Australian mission to the EU; Australian Representation to NATO; Australian Embassy, Belgium and Luxembourg; and Senior Foreign Affairs Representative in South Australia. In addition, Alexander was also a Political Adviser to the former Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Fraser; Political Adviser to the Federal Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Andrew Peacock, from 1982 to 1983; and the Executive Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce, from 1983 to 1984.

Alexander was appointed the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus at the level of Under-Secretary General in July 2008. He is a Visiting Professor in the School of History and Politics at the University of Adelaide and sits on a number of boards including the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Downer is also a regular newspaper columnist.


Mr. Downer was educated at Geelong Grammar School, Victoria; Radley College, Oxford, United Kingdom; and the University of Newcastle on Tyne, United Kingdom.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Politics and Economics and is a Doctorate honoris causa of Civil Laws.  He also holds an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Bar Ilan University, Israel.