Peter Varghese AO

Peter Varghese AO
Distinguished Fellow

Peter Varghese AO

Peter Varghese AO is Chancellor of The University of Queensland and a Distinguished Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre. Prior to his appointment as Chancellor in 2016, Mr Varghese’s extensive career in public service and diplomacy spanned 38 years and included senior positions in foreign affairs, trade policy and intelligence.

Most recently, he served as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2012-2016). Previous senior appointments included High Commissioner to India (2009-2012), High Commissioner to Malaysia (2000-2002), Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (2004-2009), and Senior Advisor (International) to the Prime Minister of Australia (2003-2004). Mr Varghese was the author of a comprehensive India Economic Strategy to 2035 commissioned by the Australian Prime Minister and submitted in July 2018.

Mr Varghese was educated at The University of Queensland, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and a University Medal in history in 1978. He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2010 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from The University of Queensland in 2013.

Mr Varghese took up Chair of the Asialink Council in February 2021 and sits on the boards of CARE Australia and North Queensland Airports. He is also on the international governing board of the Rajaratnum School of International Studies in Singapore. He was awarded the Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop Asialink Medal in 2019 in recognition of outstanding contributions to improving Australia-Asia relations.