Mr. Roland Rich brings to the job over 30 years of experience as a diplomat, a scholar and a democracy promotion practitioner. Prior to his appointment to UNDEF, Mr. Rich was a member of the directing staff at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies of the Australian Defence College, teaching and mentoring colonel-level officers undertaking a master’s degree in international relations. In 2005 Mr. Rich was a research Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC. Between 1998 and 2005, Mr. Rich was the Foundation Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Australian National University which is Australia’s democracy promotion institute undertaking projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Rich joined the Australian foreign service in 1975 and had postings in Paris, Rangoon, Manila and, from 1994-1997, as Australian Ambassador to Laos. He has also served as Legal Advisor and Assistant Secretary for International Organisations in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His appointment to UNDEF was warmly welcomed by The Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia.
Mr. Rich has also contributed to the scholarly literature on democracy and democracy promotion. In 2004, together with Edward Newman, he edited a publication entitled The UN Role in Promoting Democracy published by United Nations University Press which examined the areas of comparative advantage the UN had in this field. His most recent publication, in 2007, is Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy published by Lynne Rienner Publishers which surveys the current state of democratic consolidation among the countries along Asia’s Pacific Rim.