Roland Rich

Roland Rich, an Australian national, is Executive Head of the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), a United Nations General Trust Fund, with the primary purpose of supporting democratisation around the world. It supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. Mr Rich is concurrently Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) which serves as a gateway for partnership opportunities with the UN family.

Mr Rich brings to the job over 30 years of experience as a diplomat, a scholar and a democracy promotion practitioner. Prior to his appointment to UNDEF, Mr Rich was at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies of the Australian Defence College, teaching and mentoring colonel-level officers undertaking a master’s degree in international relations. In 2005, Mr Rich was a research Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC. Between 1998 and 2005, Mr Rich was the Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at The Australian National University which is Australia’s democracy promotion institute undertaking projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr Rich joined the Australian foreign service in 1975 and had postings in Paris, Rangoon, Manila and, from 1994-1997, as Australian Ambassador to Laos. He has also served as Legal Advisor and Assistant Secretary for International Organisations in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Rich has contributed to the scholarly literature on democracy and democracy promotion. In 2004, together with Edward Newman, he edited The UN Role in Promoting Democracy published by United Nations University Press which examined the areas of comparative advantage the UN had in this field. His most recent book, in 2007, is Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy published by Lynne Rienner Publishers which surveys the current state of democratic consolidation among the countries along Asia’s Pacific Rim.

Losing Control »

Freedom of the Press in Asia

‘A free press is not a luxury. A free press is at the absolute core of equitable development’ according to World Bank President James Wolfensohn. A free press is also the key to transparency and good governance and is an indispensable feature of a democracy. So how does Asia rate? In Losing Control, leading journalists analyse the state of play in all the countries of North Asia and Southeast Asia. From the herd journalism of Japan to the Stalinist system of North Korea, Losing Control provides an inside look at journalism and freedom of the press in each country. One conclusion—a combination of new technology and greater democracy is breaking the shackles that once constrained the press in Asia. ‘Brings together Asia’s best and brightest observers of the press.’ Hamish McDonald, Foreign Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald ‘A rare insiders’ view exposing the real dynamics behind social and political change in Asia.’ Evan Williams, Foreign Correspondent, ABC TV ‘A timely and necessary contribution to the debate over the quality of freedom in Asia.’ Geoffrey Barker, The Australian Financial Review

Political Parties in the Pacific Islands »

Edited by: Roland Rich, Luke Hambly, Michael G. Morgan
While political parties remain an indispensable institutional framework for representation and governance in a democracy, the democracies of many Pacific Islands nations are undermined by the weakness and inefficacy of their local political parties. Addressing the implications of the lack of established party systems across the Pacific, this collection seeks to illuminate the underlying assumptions and suppositions behind the importance of coherent and effective parties to overall democratic functioning. Focusing on the political systems of East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa, the coherent structure of the volume makes it consistently useful as both an articulate analytical text and a reference tool concerning the political composition, history and direction of Pacific states. Featuring contributions from scholars who are familiar names to even the most casual of Pacificists, Political Parties in the Pacific is the benchmark reference work on the political parties of the Pacific: an invaluable resource for students, scholars and researchers of the Pacific and international politics.