Gary Cowan web portrait resized

Mr Gary Cowan

Chief Executive Officer

Mr Gary Cowan took up his role as CEO of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations in March 2024.  Gary is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Gary served overseas as Australia’s Representative in Taipei from 2018 to 2021 and earlier in roles in Australia’s missions in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

In Canberra Gary served as the First Assistant Secretary, North and South Asia Division (later South and Central Asia Division) from 2021 to 2024, managing Australia’s relations with Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, and the countries of South and central Asia.  In earlier roles he headed Australia’s international climate policy and negotiations team at DFAT and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and was speechwriter for the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Gary holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Australia New Zealand School of Government (2010), and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (1997) and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (1995) from the University of Sydney.  He speaks Mandarin.