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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

1st September 2011

Cautious optimism at the Australia Davos Connection Leadership Retreat

Last weekend I attended the annual Hayman Island Retreat organised by the Australian Davos Connection. It is a prestigious gathering of senior figures from the worlds of business and government, together with eminent academics and thinkers to provoke discussion on long term trends.

This year’s theme was .”On the Edge – confidence in the face of fragility”.  We heard how the Asian boom, led by China, and the resulting surge in demand for resources, is creating both opportunities and challenges for Australia. There was recognition that both the American and European economies needed serious action to address their current economic difficulties and that this required strong political leadership.

Overall I took away a mood of cautious optimism: some were more cautious, but a majority were more optimistic. Everyone recognised that we are going through a challenging period, but on balance participants thought that we were capable of coming up with the right responses, even though these would inevitably necessitate some short term pain.

One of the things that left me feeling most upbeat was a scientist’s presentation on the potential opportunities flowing from current research in Quantum Mechanics. It was the sort of lecture that you feel you’re following as long as they’re speaking, but would find it hard to explain to others afterwards. But it was a reminder of the huge role that technological advances can play in promoting human wellbeing. That is why the UK’s powerful research base (with 4 of the world’s top 10 universities) is such a source of long term strength for our economy. This was exactly what we had been discussing in Canberra earlier in the week when I hosted a lunch for the visiting Director of the UK’s Royal Society and the President of the Australian Academy of Science.

About Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017. He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia…

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017.

He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan

He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.

Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.

He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.

Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.