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MFAT Mourns Death of Dep. Secretary Alan Williams

Foreign Affairs staff mourn the death of deputy secretary Alan Williams

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade deputy secretary Alan Williams died on Sunday following a battle with cancer. He was 50.

“We are all deeply saddened by Alan’s death and our thoughts are with his family,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Simon Murdoch said today.

“Alan was friend, peer, colleague, and mentor to so many people at the Ministry, both in New Zealand and overseas, and his death touches all of us in some way.

“His passion for life, family and work was inspirational,” Mr Murdoch said.

After graduating from Canterbury University with a BSc Hons in economics and geography, Mr Williams’ career in the Foreign Service began in 1983, and his first posting was to Canberra in 1987.

Returning to Wellington, he began the first of two assignments in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and was also Executive Officer on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.

Mr Williams returned to the ministry head office in 1992 for three years managing the office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This was followed by his second assignment to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in 1995, serving as foreign policy adviser to three successive Prime Ministers.

In 2000, he was appointed New Zealand Ambassador to Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, returning to Wellington as deputy secretary in 2003.

His responsibilities in that role included Middle East and Africa, Australia, the Pacific, and information and public affairs.

Mr Williams is survived by his wife Penny and three children.


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