Adrian Arena is director of the Oak Foundation’s International Human Rights Programme, which focuses on civil and political rights and works at both the national and international levels. Arena also serves as chair of the foundation’s Joint Brazil Programme.
Prior to joining Oak Foundation, Arena spent three years as deputy secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists, a Geneva-based organization that promotes the global rule of law with a particular emphasis on the independence of the judiciary. There he was responsible for management and fundraising and learned first-hand the challenges of being a grant seeker.
Arena began his career in the Australian Foreign Service serving as a diplomat at the Australian Embassies in Tehran, Stockholm, and Rome. He undertook a range of responsibilities, including political and economic reporting, representation, and immigration work.
Arena serves on the boards of various foundations, donor collaboratives, and non-governmental organizations. A fluent Italian and French speaker, he has also studied Farsi and Indonesian. Arena holds a degree in Arts/Law from the University of Sydney, and is a keen cyclist.