ANU Chancellor Julie Bishop appointed UN special envoy

06 Apr 2024

Chancellor of The Australian National 51Թ (ANU) the Hon Julie Bishop has been appointed as the United Nations’ Special Envoy on Myanmar.

The appointment was made overnight by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The UN said Ms Bishop brings “extensive political, legal management and senior leadership experience to the role”.

“Throughout her career, Ms Bishop has strengthened engagement with regional partners and led international negotiation efforts, including the first ever United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea conciliation,” the UN said in a statement.

Before taking up the role of ANU Chancellor in 2020 – the first woman appointed to the role in the 51Թ’s history – Ms Bishop was Australia’s first female foreign minister, a role she held from 2013 to 2018.

Ms Bishop has held several other high-level positions in Australian Government, including Cabinet Minister for Education, Science and Training, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues and Minister for Ageing. She was a member of Parliament from 1998 to 2019, following a 20-year career in law.

She has also won the Weary Dunlop medal for her contribution to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific and been named a Kissinger Fellow for her work on significant global policy issues.

On her UN appointment, Ms Bishop said: “I am deeply honoured to be appointed Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations on Myanmar to help deliver on the mandate of the General Assembly and the Security Council Resolution of December 2022.”

Myanmar has faced nationwide conflict since the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted by the military in February 2021.

Ms Bishop succeeds UN undersecretary-general Noeleen Heyzer as Special Envoy on Myanmar, who has described the impact of the military takeover as “devastating” noting violence in the Southeast Asian nation is continuing at an “alarming scale”.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Genevieve Bell congratulated the Chancellor on her UN appointment.

“As Australia’s first female foreign minister, Julie made an incredible contribution to global politics,” she said.

“Now, she’s adding Special Envoy to her illustrious career in global diplomacy. This is a well-deserved recognition of her significant impact on contemporary international relations.

“The entire ANU community congratulates Julie on this important appointment and wishes her the very best in this vital role." 

Ms Bishop will continue in her role as ANU Chancellor while also undertaking her work with the UN.

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