Biographies

New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Whare Tawāhi-a-mahi i Aotearoa is governed by a Board elected by its members. The Board comprises skilled experts in international affairs, academia, finance and governance. The 2023-2024 Board is made up as follows:

Chair, Dr Richard Grant 

Dr Richard Grant was previously Vice-Chair of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and is current Chair of the Institute’s Hawkes Bay branch. He was the Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation from 2008 to 2012. Dr Grant had a distinguished diplomatic career over 40 years working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Pacific, Europe, Australia and Asia. He is a former New Zealand Ambassador in Bonn and Paris and a former High Commissioner in London and Singapore. He has also represented New Zealand at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and held other senior positions including Deputy Secretary for External Economic and Trade Policy. He was chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand from 2013 to 2017. Dr Grant was educated at Victoria University of Wellington and received his doctorate at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France. In 1999 he was a Visiting Scholar at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and in 2004 was a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University.

Vice Chair, Dr James Kember

James Kember has a career in public service, primarily as a diplomat with assignments in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, Europe and at the United Nations, but also three years as director of the NZ Asia Institute at the University of Auckland, and nearly three years as adviser to a foreign minister.  He has also been an observer and occasional writer on foreign affairs topics, his last major piece being a chapter on Africa in the recently published book on New Zealand’s 2015-2016 term on the UN Security Council. From 2002-2006 he served on the board of New Zealand Pacific Economic Cooperation Council. He  has at various times served on the boards of the Wellington Youth Orchestra and of Wellington Chamber Music. He now chairs the management committee at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, which oversees fundraising initiatives and operational matters.

Karim Dickie

Karim Dickie is a Wellington-based public servant and the current Chair of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs’ Wellington Branch. He first joined the Institute in 2011 as a student and has served on the Wellington committee for the past six years. In 2023 he will complete a three-year term as Chair. In addition to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, he is the Vice President of the United Nations Association of New Zealand, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Council (NZ) and a Board member of Commonwealth Youth New Zealand. From 2016 to 2017 he served as the Executive Secretary and Protocol Assistant to the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to New Zealand, and from 2015 to 2019 he was attached to Radio New Zealand (RNZ). Karim studied at Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University, graduating from the former with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Suzannah Jessep

Suzannah Jessep is the Director of Engagement and Research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation and is responsible for overseeing and delivering the Foundation's Track II dialogues and roundtables, and for commissioning research that explores New Zealand's evolving relationship with Asia. She has previously worked for New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2005-2019), including as New Zealand's Deputy High Commissioner to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and Deputy Ambassador to Nepal, as well as Deputy High Commissioner to Vanuatu. In addition to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Suzannah is a member of the Trade For All Ministerial Advisory Board, and the Advisory Boards of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre and New Zealand India Research Institute.

Dr Serena Kelly

Dr Serena Kelly is a senior lecturer in the Politics of the European Union at the University of Canterbury. She has been widely published and has featured in the media on EU issues. She also has a strong record of securing external funding and her current research includes European diplomacy, international political communication, and Europe’s relations, presence, impact in, and with, the Asia-Pacific. Serena was Chair of the NZIIA Christchurch Branch from 2017 – 2021. She is also Vice-President of the European Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand.

Luke Qin

Luke Qin is originally from Sichuan. He graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Commerce, before relocating to Wellington to join the banking industry and complete his Masters in Applied Finance at Victoria University of Wellington. He currently looks after exporters and importers for a leading bank, helping New Zealand businesses with working capital financing and risk mitigation. He also serves as an Executive Committee member of the New Zealand China Council and is a Board member of Transparency International New Zealand.

Andrew Wierzbicki

Andrew Wierzbicki had a 40 year career in the public service working on policy advice covering trade and economic issues including while on a posting to Washington DC, and defence and security issues as a senior manager in the Ministry of Defence. He is experienced in governance, financial oversight and strategic planning. He is an Honorary Vice President of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and is a previous Chair of the New Zealand International Review Committee. As a longstanding member of the NZIIA Wellington Branch, Andrew served for a number of years on its Committee including as Treasurer. Andrew is a graduate in Law and Politics of Victoria University of Wellington.

David Evans, appointee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

David Evans is Divisional Manager - Strategy & Performance Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Manatū Aorere. 

Officers appointed by the Board:

Dr Hamish McDougall, Executive Director

 In January 2022 Dr Hamish McDougall was appointed Executive Director of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs - Whare Tawāhi-amahi i Aotearoa. He recently completed a PhD in international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on the topic of Anglo-New Zealand relations in the context of European integration. At LSE he also taught and designed courses on twentieth-century international history. His published research includes a chapter in the official history of the New Zealand foreign service, and articles on New Zealand’s involvement in the 1971 negotiations for European Community accession, and separately, international aspects of the 1981 Springbok Tour. Outside of academia, he has a successful career in corporate and marketing communications in New Zealand and overseas, including the launch of He Tohu, the exhibition of iconic New Zealand documents at the National Library of New Zealand.