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The Academy

Diplomatic Academy

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 on a select basis and where relevant. We are 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 of the Academy is Ms Paula Ganly. Ms Ganly is a career public servant with a wealth of experience. She took up the role of Executive Director, Diplomatic Academy in November 2018. Most recently Ms Ganly was First Assistant Secretary, Ministerial Support Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Prior to this, she was Head of the Ceremonial and Hospitality Branch. Before moving to PM&C, Ms Ganly had an extensive career in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Assistant Secretary Diplomatic Security; Assistant Secretary Consular Policy; Corporate Management; South and South East Asia Division; and the Post Security Task Force. Ms Ganly has served overseas in South Korea, Bangladesh, Venezuela, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, China (Beijing) and the United Kingdom.

Why we have been established

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.

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.

This image displays a central circle that says ‘Our Audience’, with a series of circles around the outside describing the various audiences – Canberra officers, State & Territory Officers, A-based at Post, LES, Other Government Agencies and Foreign Ministries.

When and where

The Academy began offering courses in August 2016 and has 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.

44 Sydney Avenue building exterior looking from State Circle

44 Sydney Avenue, Forrest, Canberra

The Advisory Board

An Advisory Board guides the Academy's work, particularly in relation to course content and core curriculum. The Board is responsible for providing independent review and expert advice; informing the Academy of cross cutting and evolving domestic and international diplomacy issues; assisting the Academy in establishing links with key individuals, networks and organisations; promoting the work of the Academy; and identifying potential collaborators for the Academy's current and future work priorities.

The Board comprises members from DFAT, other APS agencies, academics, and prominent thinkers/practitioners in the community. The Board is chaired by the Secretary of DFAT.

Photo of Diplomatic Academy Board Members March 2017

Advisory Board members at the inaugural Board meeting, 3 March 2017:

From left to right: Robyn Mudie (inaugural Executive Director, Diplomatic Academy), Margot McCarthy, Catherine Walker, Darrell Evans, Sally Mansfield, DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson, Brendan Pearson, Elizabeth Kelly, Matthew Yannopoulos, Jennifer Rawson. Absent from photo: Linda Jakobson.

Advisory Board Members

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Board Members

  • Frances Adamson, DFAT Secretary
  • Penny Williams, Deputy Secretary, DFAT
  • Paula Ganly, Executive Director, Diplomatic Academy, DFAT
  • Daniel Sloper, Chief People Officer, DFAT

External Board Members

  • Professor Darrell Evans, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
  • Ms Stephanie Foster PSM, Deputy Secretary Governance, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Ms Linda Jakobson, Deputy Chair, China Matters
  • Dr Margot McCarthy, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health
  • Brendan Pearson, Senior Adviser, International - Trade and Investment, Office of the Prime Minister
  • Catherine Walker, former senior AusAID officer
  • Matthew Yannopoulos, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Health