Between The Covers

Speaking with Australian Diplomat and author Robert Bowker

September 20, 2022 Shawline Publishing
Between The Covers
Speaking with Australian Diplomat and author Robert Bowker
Show Notes

Bradley speaks with author and Australian diplomat, Robert Bowker about his new memoir and his experiences in bringing his life to the pages within. Grab your copy here -

After 50 years as an Australian diplomat, UN official, intelligence analyst, academic and company director working in and on the Middle East, Bob Bowker enjoys unique insights into the challenges, professional and personal, of representing Australia in the Arab world. In this occasionally light-hearted professional memoir, revealing something of the person behind the diplomat, he sets out his views and reflections on major Middle East issues and into what makes diplomacy in the Arab world effective. He also captures the complexity, the drama, the ambiguity and sometimes the absurdity of certain situations he faced as an Australian ambassador in the Arab world.

  • A sacked local staff member in Syria was found to be an informer for the secret police.
  • Overnight, a shipload of Australian sheep became Bulgarian
  • A judge in Sudan successfully prosecuted his own case in a murder trial.
  • As demonstrators hurled stones and bottles toward his office, women in his microenterprise program in Gaza sold soft drinks to the crowd.
  • Praise for Tomorrow There will be Apricots.

Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC, Australian Foreign Minister 1988-96
An evocative account by one of Australia’s most accomplished diplomats of the highs and lows, rewards and frustrations, delights and stresses of diplomatic life—not least, it seems, in working with their Ministers. But also a deeply thoughtful analysis of the multiple geopolitical challenges the Middle East continues to pose, charting possible ways forward in writing that is often provocative but always stimulating. Two books for the price of one—and both eminently worth the purchase. 

Nick Warner AO PSM, former Director of the Office of National Intelligence, Director General of ASIS, Secretary of the Department of Defence, and Australian Ambassador to Iran.
The Middle East matters to Australia, and we have been lucky in recent decades to have a group of exceptional diplomats dedicate their careers to understanding the region. Bob Bowker has been the dean of this group. His important book throws light on the history of our relationship with the Middle East, where we have gone wrong and right, and what we should do now. 

Professor the Hon Bob Carr, Australian Foreign Minister 2012-13.
As Foreign Minister I grew to admire the razor-sharp insights of our best diplomats.  It was an education and a pleasure to read their cables and savour their briefings.  Bob Bowker in his memoirs delivers deep knowledge matched with sound judgement not least in his appraisal of the Arab world and, among other things, its relationship with Israel and the Israeli rule of the 4.5 million Palestinians in the occupied territories.  All our best diplomats should write books like this.

Emeritus Professor William Maley AM
It is our good fortune that Dr Robert Bowker has now chosen to write about his experiences working as an Australian ambassador, as a UN official, and as a distinguished academic and author of scholarly publications of notable depth and sophistication. This rich and engaging memoir not only chronicles the adventures of the Bowker family; it offers critical insights into the practice – and value – of expert diplomacy in a complex, fascinating and important part of the world