Richard Butler Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Richard Butler    

Richard Butler is widely recognized internationally as Australia's most influential diplomat in contemporary times.

For the last three years following his Australian and United Nations appointments, Butler was a Diplomat in Residence at the Council for Foreign Relations in New York. He possesses in-depth knowledge and expertise on today's most pressing issues, addressing those issues with rare insight, humor and wit.          

From 1997 to 1999, he was Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with the disarmament of Iraq. For five years prior to that appointment, he was Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York.

In the earlier part of his foreign service career, he was posted to the Australian Embassies at: Vienna, where he was the Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the International Atomic Energy Agency; New York, United Nations; Singapore; Bonn; and Paris, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. In 1983, he was appointed Australia's first Ambassador for Disarmament. In that role he led the Australian Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and was charged with conducting all Australian disarmament negotiations, both in United Nations institutions and, directly, with individual countries.        

In 1989, he was appointed Australian Ambassador to Thailand and, simultaneously in 1991, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the Supreme National Council of Cambodia. He was deeply involved in the negotiation of the Cambodian peace agreements.        

In 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations elected him Chairman of the United Nations Preparatory Committee for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations, commemorated in 1995.        

In 1994, he was elected President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. In that role, he established UNAIDS - the Global AIDS Program.        

He was also Vice Chairman of the World Summit on Social Development, held in Copenhagen in March 1995.      

In November 1995, the Prime Minister of Australia appointed him Convener of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.  In 1996, he managed the adoption by the United Nations of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.      

He holds degrees from the University of Sydney (Economics) and the Australian National University (International Relations). In 1996, he was made a Doctor of the University, by the University of New England, Australia.  In 2001 he was made a Doctor of Laws by Rutgers University, United States and in 2002 he was made a Doctor of the University, by the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. 

Ambassador Butler is the author of several books, including Saddam Defiant: The Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Crisis of Global Security, Fatal Choice: Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Missile Defense, and The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Crisis of Global Society.


No videos yet.

Related Speakers View all

More like Richard