News: General

Press Release: American Australian Association Announces Amb. John Berry as New President

Thursday, June 9, 2016  
Posted by: Debbie Chappel
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Thursday, 9 June 2016



New York, NY and Sydney, Australia, 9 June 2016:

The United States Ambassador to Australia, the Honorable John Berry, has been named the next President of the American Australian Association.

The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Board of the American Australian Association, Jennifer Nason, in conjunction with the American Australian Association Ltd & United States Studies Centre’s 10th Anniversary & Benefit Dinner in Sydney today.

Ms. Nason noted “John is a visionary leader who is renowned for his exceptional management, change implementation, fundraising and representational skills. He is a true friend of Australia and his appointment will bring new momentum and standing to the Association”.  The appointment is endorsed by the Association’s key patrons.  “This is a significant moment in the illustrious history of the AAA, founded nearly 70 years ago by Sir Keith Murdoch,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp.  “We welcome Ambassador Berry as the new President.  His intimate knowledge of the US-Australian relationship, combined with a track record of accomplishment as a leader of major organizations, make him ideally suited to champion the cause of the AAA in the years ahead.”

Ambassador Berry is expected to commence the role on completion of his Ambassadorial posting, and will succeed Ms. Frances Cassidy, who is retiring after 15 years at the helm of the Association.  Reflecting on the Association’s growth over this period, Ms. Nason said ‘Frances has been instrumental in shaping the Association’s achievements in education, government and in the American - Australian business and social communities, as well as solidifying the Association’s position as the leading private organization supporting American-Australian relations.  We wish her all the best in the future”.  Ms. Cassidy noted of her successor "I am thrilled that John Berry has agreed to take on this important role and to succeed me as the head of this great organization".  

Ambassador Berry is extremely well positioned to build, strengthen and lead the Association, having represented, promoted and supported the American – Australian relationship at the highest level as the 25th United States Ambassador to Australia over the last three years.  His Ambassadorial term began after he was nominated to the post by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in 2013.  Referring to his appointment, Ambassador Berry said “After three amazing years as Ambassador, I am excited by this opportunity to continue to advance, broaden and strengthen ties between our two great countries – the economic, scientific, environmental, cultural and commercial ties – that transcend politics, politicians and treaties.  I am thrilled to be able to help continue the forward momentum in each of these areas.”

Prior to serving as the United States’ highest ranking diplomatic representative in Australia, Ambassador Berry had a distinguished 30-year career in the United States government and non-profit sector.  He has held leadership positions as the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, and Director & CEO of the non-profit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in addition to senior positions at the U.S. Departments of Interior and Treasury.  

Ambassador Berry was born in Maryland.  He holds a BA in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland and a MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York.   In 2013, Ambassador Berry married Curtis Yee in Washington DC.

The American Australian Association was established in New York City in 1948 by Sir Keith Murdoch and a group of prominent American bankers to promote cooperation and understanding between the United States and Australia.  It is now the largest and most prestigious non-profit organization in the United States and Australia dedicated to building strategic alliances between these two countries.  Headquartered in New York City, the Association also has regional operations in California and New England and is closely affiliated with the American Australian Association Ltd, in Sydney, the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and the Perth US Asia Centre at the University of Western Australia. 

For over 65 years, the Association has provided an important forum for exchange between political and business leaders across the United States and Australia. Every Australian Prime Minister who has served since 1950 and the chief executives of leading companies across the United States and Australia have been among the many individuals hosted by the Association.  The Association is also noted for its Education Fund, which supports post-graduate study and research between Australia and the United States.  The Fund is the largest source of privately funded educational Fellowships between the two countries. Since its launch in 2002, the Education Fund has granted awards to more than 250 Fellows, totaling over $6 million.   END. 



"John Berry is not only a wonderful guy but he is an experienced and respected voice here in the United States. His deep knowledge of all things relating to the Australia/US partnership will further strengthen the AAA over the years ahead."  H.E. the Hon Joe Hockey, Ambassador of Australia to the United States

"I've had the good fortune of knowing Ambassador John Berry for over two decades. He is one of America's finest diplomats and public servants, and is passionate about importance and solidarity of the US partnership with Australia. He is an ideal person to bring his energy and commitment to the work of the American Australian Association."  Ambassador Robert Holleyman, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

"I am pleased to welcome Ambassador John Berry to the AAA family.  He has served the US - Australian relationship with distinction and I know that his unique experiences will help to usher in a new era of leadership to the organization.  It with mixed emotions that I wish Frances Cassidy a fond farewell.  You will be missed at AAA, Frances, as you always made it fun and dynamic.  I hope you go to this next phase in life with the pride of what you leave behind and I wish you the very best on behalf of all of those that you've inspired throughout your years of leading this storied Organization."  Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman & CEO, Dow


“The AAA plays an important role in the strengthening of the US-Australian relationship especially along cultural and business lines.  Ambassador Berry’s personal experience in U.S. government as well as his service in Canberra make him a great fit and a very strong partner.”   Peter Lowy, co-CEO, Westfield Corporation

“Ambassador Berry will bring a wealth of knowledge on Government, philanthropy and Australian experience to the role.   Following John’s three year posting to Australia I look forward to our continuing collaboration and cooperation as we use best endeavours to expand the reach, profile and outcomes of AAA.”  Chair of AAA Ltd., The Hon John Olsen AO


Debbie Chappel, Director Corporate & Government Relations, 
American Australian Association | Email –


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