ABIE France bids farewell to its Honorary President, Ambassador Brendan Berne

After three years in his position as Australian Ambassador to France and Honorary President of ABIE France, Ambassador Berne’s tenure has come to an end.

Appointed to Paris in July 2017, Ambassador Berne has reinforced ties between Australia and France and in his own words on the eve of his departure said “the relationship could not be stronger”.

The relationship between Ambassador Berne, the Australian Embassy and ABIE France could not have been stronger either. Throughout his posting, the Ambassador and his team have encouraged, supported and facilitated ABIE in the development of its activities.

In 2018, Ambassador Berne was at the forefront of President Macron’s visit to Australia in May of that year – the first time a French President has set foot in Australia specifically for a bilateral visit. At the “Tech me to Australia” event organised by Austrade and ABIE France at the Ambassador’s Residence the same month, Ambassador Berne urged the audience to read the recently signed Vision Statement on the Australia-France Relationship as an important reflection of the growing strength of the relationship between these two countries.

Following the EU’s decision to start negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Australia in May 2018, Ambassador Berne hosted “Cognac, Vegemite and Roquefort”, an event organised by ABIE France in partnership with ABIE Corporate Sponsor Corrs Chambers Westgarth, which focused on the potential intellectual property implications of an Australian-EU Free Trade Agreement.

ABIE Corporate Members and the ABIE Board were also honoured that year to be invited to a performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Ambassador’s residence.

In May 2019, Ambassador Berne threw open his private residence once again, this time for the Australian men’s rugby 7s’ team, in an event jointly hosted by ABIE France and the Australian Embassy.

As 2020 began, Australia was ravaged by devastating bushfires.  At the ABIE France Charity Auction organised in January in association with the Australian Embassy, over AU$50,000 was raised for bushfire relief. One of the most popular auction items was a donation by Ambassador Berne, who in the spirit of good humour and generosity, offered himself for a private lunch in his residence.

Then in May of this year, as France was in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ambassador Berne participated in a webinar organised by ABIE France in which he discussed COVID-19 and the economic perspectives between France and Australia.

ABIE France warmly thanks Ambassador Berne for his commitment to ABIE and his valued support as Honorary President in promoting and developing the ABIE network, and wishes him all the best for the future.

To read an article from the Financial Review on Ambassador Berne’s three-year tenure, click here.