Alexander Downer to receive honorary doctorate

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Hon. Alexander Downer, AC, former Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the longest serving Foreign Affairs Minister in Australia's history, is to be awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Adelaide.

Mr Downer will receive the Doctor of the University (honoris causa) for his exceptionally distinguished service to Australian society and to the University.

He served as Australian High Commissioner to the UK from 2014–2018, as Minister for Foreign Affairs during the Howard Liberal Government from 1996–2007, and as Leader of the Liberal Party from 1994–1995.

Mr Downer, who first entered politics in 1984, is also a former Special Adviser to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General on Cyprus (2008–2014), and a former Visiting Professor of Politics and International Trade with the University of Adelaide.

"The University of Adelaide is delighted that Alexander Downer will accept an honorary doctorate, in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the people and parliament of Australia," says the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen.

"For more than two decades, Mr Downer has dedicated his life to advancing Australia's international relations and foreign policy, with achievements spanning the areas of security, trade and humanitarian aid.

"As Foreign Minister, Mr Downer was at the forefront of Australian foreign policy during some very turbulent and also progressive times," Professor Rathjen says.

Born in South Australia in 1951, Mr Downer is the son of a prominent Australian politician and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Sir Alick Downer.

In conjunction with the University of Adelaide, Mr Downer established the Sir John Downer Oration in 2012 as a biennial public lecture in honour of his grandfather, Sir John Downer. Another notable South Australian, Sir John was twice elected Premier of South Australia, and in 1901 was elected as one of the first South Australian senators in the Federal Parliament.

Mr Downer retired from politics in 2008. He was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2013.

He will receive his honorary doctorate during the University's graduation ceremonies in September 2018.


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