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Jeffrey Bleich named QIMR Berghofer ambassador

The former US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, is QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute’s first International Ambassador.

Mr Bleich, who held the Canberra post from 2009 to 2013, has agreed to a roving representative role for the Institute, spreading the word about QIMR Berghofer and raising awareness of the importance of medical research.

QIMR Berghofer Director, Professor Frank Gannon, said the post was reserved for an outstanding international figure.

“We are thrilled that a person of Jeffrey’s calibre has agreed to take on this important role. He is a great ambassador in every sense and this is a real vote of confidence in our researchers and our science,” Professor Gannon said.

“It’s also a major endorsement of the place QIMR Berghofer holds on the world stage, and recognition of the importance of medical research to all our lives.”

Mr Bleich said the new role would channel his keen interest in biotechnology and build on the strong Australian-US links forged by the generosity of renowned American philanthropist Chuck Feeney, whose Atlantic Philanthropies has given $58 million to QIMR Berghofer since 2001.

“I’m honored to take part in extending Chuck Feeney’s extraordinary legacy and continuing the important work being accomplished at QIMR Berghofer,” Mr Bleich said.

“Our nations are linked by many things, but there is none more important than improving the length and quality of human lives. QIMR Berghofer is helping Australians, Americans, and people from all nations accomplish these breakthroughs together.”

Mr Bleich was an honoured guest at the 2012 opening of QIMR Berghofer’s Central building, a facility partly funded by Chuck Feeney.

Mr Bleich and Professor Gannon were also part of a delegation at the 2014 Bio International Convention in San Diego last month. The event brought together leaders in industry, government and academia to help further the promise of biotechnology.

About Jeffrey Bleich: Jeffrey Bleich holds degrees from Amherst College, Harvard University, and the University of California Berkeley, as well as Honorary Doctorates from the San Francisco State University and Flinders University. He works closely with leading technology companies in Silicon Valley. As Ambassador to Australia, he received the highest honor accorded a non-career Ambassador – the Sue Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service.