Richard Woolcott AC is the Founding Director of the Asia Society AustralAsia Centre, a founding member of the Australian American Leadership Foundation and a member of the International Council of the New York based Asia Society.
From 1982 to 1988 Richard served as deputy to the High Commissioner in Malaysia, Commissioner in Singapore, High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador to the Philippines, Ambassador to Indonesia and Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, also representing Australia on the Security Council. He was Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 1988 to 1992, Chairman of the Australia Indonesia Institute from 1992 to 1998 and a member of the Advisory Panel for the first Government White Paper on Foreign and Trade Policy, published in 1997. Throughout this time he was on the Boards of a number of companies in the private sector.
Richard Woolcott was closely involved with the establishment of the Asia Pacific Regional Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and in 1989 was appointed as former Prime Minister Hawke’s Special Envoy charged with developing the APEC concept. He has also carried out Special Envoy roles for Prime Ministers Holt, Whitlam, Howard and, most recently, Rudd, who in April of 2008 appointed Richard Chairman of a committee to review the Australian citizenship test.
He was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1985 and a Companion in the Order in 1993, and awarded the Bintang Mahaputra Utama by the Government of Indonesia in 2000 for his contribution to bilateral and regional relationships. Richard was awarded the 2008 Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asia Medal for his contribution to Australia's relationships with Asian countries. In 2008 he was selected as one of the inaugural Fellows of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.
Richard Woolcott has contributed numerous articles to leading Australian and overseas newspapers and journals and is the author of The Hot Seat: Reflections on Diplomacy from Stalin's Death to the Bali Bombings (2003) and Undiplomatic Activities (2007).