Two ANU alumni who studied arts and politics have been appointed Australia’s top diplomats to Vietnam’s southern economic hub and Brazil.
Karen Lanyon, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Law double degree majoring in international politics and law, has begun her posting as Consul-General to Ho Chi Minh City. John Richardson, who studied politics as part of a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) degree, was this month announced Ambassador to Brazil.
Both diplomats have extensive experience as career officers in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with which the ANU has a long-standing and deep relationship. Ms Lanyon has held senior roles in the department’s New South Wales office and Australia’s diplomatic missions to Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore.
Mr Richardson’s previous roles have included being Australian Ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, and senior positions in the department’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and diplomatic security teams.
College of Arts and Social Sciences Dean, Professor Paul Pickering, congratulated Ms Lanyon and Mr Richardson and said their appointments demonstrate what is possible after studying at the Australia’s national university.
When announcing the appointments, Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said Vietnam was Australia’s 14th largest trading partner with two-way goods and service trade reaching $10 billion in 2014.
Brazil was one of Australia’s major investment partners, with Australian investment in Brazil reaching $11 billion and more than 100 Australian companies operating there, Ms Bishop added.
Vietnam is Australia’s third largest source of international students, while in 2015 more than 160 Australians would study in there under the New Colombo Plan. Brazil is Australia’s largest source of international students outside Asia and a major market for tourists to Australia.