One of Australia's foremost strategic thinkers will join UNSW to head up a new institute on international security.

Professor Alan Dupont, well known academic, media commentator and national security expert, has been appointed the inaugural Director of the Institute for International Security and Development within UNSW's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He will take up the position in February 2012.

"The new Institute will bring together a critical mass of scholars to work on cutting edge, policy-relevant research on international security and development challenges, with a particular focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East," said Faculty Dean Professor James Donald.

The Institute will have an important role in leading public debate as well as educating Australia's next generation of strategic analysts, policy-makers and professionals working in defence, foreign affairs, the national security community, non-government organisations, the media and development assistance.

"In today's interdependent world, it is more important than ever to understand the links between conflict and under-development" Professor Dupont said.

"Universities have a crucial responsibility to contribute solutions to the many security and development challenges we confront. The new Institute will work in collaboration with other areas of the University and reach out to leading think tanks, policy institutes and universities in Australia and overseas, to advance its research agenda and provide thought leadership", he said.

Professor Dupont is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and the US Foreign Service Institute and holds a PhD from the Australian National University. He is currently the Director of the Centre for International Security Studies and foundation Michael Hintze Professor of International Security at the University of Sydney, and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

Professor Dupont is the author of numerous academic and policy publications on international security, including a path-breaking book on the emerging non-military security challenges to Asia's security, and has lived in developing countries for many years. Prior to becoming an academic, he worked in government for 25 years in the Departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has also served in a number of senior advisory positions to the Ministers for Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade as well as the Government of East Timor.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732 | 0429 416 070