The Academy

Diplomatic Academy main image - business people walking away from DFAT's RG Casey Building

Who we are

The Diplomatic Academy (Academy) is a leading-edge learning and development hub for all staff working to advance Australia’s interests internationally. The Academy enables a continuous, career-long investment in skills and capability for all officers (Australia-based [A-based] and Locally Engaged [LE]).

Our Academy is a centre of excellence for sharing best practice in modern diplomacy, which values learning by us, for us.  It challenges thinking and injects creativity and innovation into our learning programs. It provides formal and informal, digital and face-to-face learning through foundation, practitioner and expert level courses under a faculty structure.

The Academy is for Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officers, other Australian Public Service (APS) agencies, and other organisations and foreign ministries on a select basis and where relevant. We are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with domestic and international stakeholders. Use the Contact Us page if you are interested in getting in touch with us.

The Executive Director is Ms Alison Duncan who joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a Graduate Trainee in 2002. She has served overseas as Minister-Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Indonesia (2018-2021); Counsellor then Deputy High Commissioner to New Zealand (2015-18), Deputy High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands (2008-11); and Third Secretary in Indonesia (2003-06).

In Canberra, Ms Duncan has worked across DFAT’s trade, international security, South East Asia and Pacific divisions; and has been a champion for the Department’s Women in Leadership agenda.

Ms Duncan holds Bachelor degrees in Arts and Laws from the Australian National University and an Executive Master in Public Administration from the Australia New Zealand School of Government. In 2015, she received a Young Public Sector Leader Award from the Institute of Public Administration of Australia.

Ms Duncan speaks Indonesian and French.

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Ms Alison Duncan, Executive Director, Diplomatic Academy

Our Purpose

The Academy supports DFAT's organisational capability agenda, is closely aligned to the DFAT Workforce Strategy, and helps build networks across government to foster a culture of innovation and strategic thinking. It helps to deliver the objectives of a number of corporate initiatives in DFAT's Corporate Plan.

The Academy:

  • allows a self-driven, proactive approach to learning
  • is linked to the Department's Capability Improvement agenda and Workforce Strategy
  • helps to sharpen and preserve our diplomatic tradecraft
  • provides continuous career-long investment in skills and capability
  • enables the sharing of expertise in modern diplomacy
  • facilitates the transfer of experience and knowledge.

Our Faculties

The Diplomatic Academy offers an annual curriculum of professional skills development across nine faculties, each led by Senior Executive Service (SES) officers. Further information on the faculties and Faculty Heads is available at Our Faculties

Who it is for

The Academy is a resource for those working to advance Australian interests internationally. It is for DFAT and APS staff, at all levels, at any stage of their career, in Canberra, regional offices and at Post - including, importantly, our valued LES. In line with the objectives of the Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, released in November 2017, the Academy is working to build international engagement capability across the Australian public service. It is working closely with the Australian Public Service Commission to ensure its curriculum complements broader leadership and core skills programs provided by the Commission. The Academy is also building links with foreign ministries and diplomatic training institutions in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.

Image - Central circle with 'Our Audience' heading, surrounded by circles for each audience group

When and where

The Academy began offering courses in August 2016 and progressively established a curriculum across nine faculties. The Diplomatic Academy's Curriculum, identifying programs available to other Australian government participants, is available in the Learning & Development Calendar. The Academy is located at 44 Sydney Avenue, Forrest, Canberra, Australia.

Photo of the front of 44 Sydney Avenue, Forrest, with cars driving past

44 Sydney Avenue, Forrest, Canberra