Our man in Tel Aviv

June 2, 2013 by  
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Dave Sharma is Australia’s new ambassador to Israel. Rohit Revo, the editor of the Indian Herald, provides background on the new ambassador…

Dave Sharma with Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Dave Sharma with Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Indians around the globe are proud to see fellow Indians making a mark globally. They see this as a sign of Indian long awaited resurgence and get especially excited when the achievement involves a young person of Indian heritage.

Indians in Australia are a growing community and have excelled in making a name for them. The younger generation especially has a marked presence in the areas of education and sports and are choosing occupations which are distinctly different than those adopted by their first generation immigrant parents. Up until now, Foreign Service used to be an area which did not see many Indian migrants.

Enter Devanand Sharma who has been appointed as the Australian Ambassador to Israel recently by Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Dave Sharma is of Indian heritage and his high profile appointment is something that has made Australian Indians something to be proud of.

At 37 years, Devanand Sharma or Dave Sharma for short, has also made history by becoming Australia’s youngest Ambassador. Dave Sharma is the second Australian Indian to have been appointed as an Ambassador for Australia, the other being Peter Varghese who was Australian Ambassador to India.

Dave Sharma has earlier served in the Australian diplomatic offices as Counselor at the Australian Embassy in Washington, Third Secretary at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby and as Senior Civilian Adviser with the Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville. Dave Sharma was also an Adviser to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer from 2004 – 2006.

Dave Sharma is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Assistant Secretary in the Africa Branch, and previously, Acting First Assistant Secretary, International Division in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Dave studied in Turramurra high school and when he finished in 1993, he got the highest HSC Tertiary rank of 100 in the state of NSW. He was also the highest ranked student in NSW Public schools that year.

He later studied law in University of Cambridge in UK as part of his undergraduate studies followed by studying medicine in University of Sydney and topped it up with a Masters in International Relations from Deakin University.

Dave Sharma will be accompanied to Israel by his wife Rachel and their three daughters.

Australia has been a strong supporter of the State of Israel since its establishment, and was one of the first countries to grant official recognition and to establish diplomatic relations. The Australian Embassy in Israel opened in 1949.

Talking to Indian Herald, Dave said, “This is a high profile posting as Israel is such an important part of the world for us. We also have a big Jewish community in Australia and have taken a close interest in this relationship.”

“The Indian community is a very successful migrant community in Australia and instead of concentrating on a few professions they should adopt alternate professions including Public Policy and subsequently join Government at the Federal level expanding their presence in non-traditional areas. Australia is a very open society and there are positions available for all. Meritocracy and hard work in Australia are recognised”, he added.

Sharma’s grandfather was a Brahmin priest from UP in India who moved to Trinidad in 1908.  Talking about his family Dave said, “My father was the youngest of 9 children. He was born in 1928 in Trinidad and currently lives in Sydney. He however spends time between Trinidad, Australia and Canada.”
“My father did a Law Degree and married my Sydney-born mother Diana who was from Sydney in 1964. They met each other as students at Kings College at the University of London.

Many of my father’s relatives were working in law firms. I am the first one in the family in the field of Foreign Service.”

Dave is very appreciative of his Indian heritage and says, “I was born in Vancouver moving to Parramatta in Sydney in 1979. At that time we were the only Sharma listed in the Australian telephone book. I grew up in Sydney but remain in close touch with the Indian side of my family.”

Australia and Israel enjoy a significant trade relationship worth more than $900 million a year. Australian exports to Israel include coal, meat and aluminium, with imports including gems, manufactured items and telecommunications equipment.”

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