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International diplomat wins top gong at Bond alumni awards

A globe-trotting diplomat who played a critical role in the release of a kidnapped Australian aid worker in Afghanistan and drafted a key response to the Bali bombings has taken out Bond University's most prestigious alumni award for 2018.

First Secretary for the Australian Embassy in Afghanistan and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Assistant Director, Rohan Titus, last night (Thursday, 17 May) received the Robert Stable Medal at the Bond University Alumni Awards on the Gold Coast.

Mr Titus was recognised for his exceptional professional and voluntary achievements, and the work he has carried out for the community, both locally and internationally.

Two other Bond University alumni also received awards at the gala event, with Kate Gibson - who has assisted in the development and implementation of a training program for Rwandan defence lawyers - receiving the Community Achievement Award and promising young doctor Helena Franco receiving the Young Alumni Award.

Mr Titus, who has more than 23 years’ experience working with the Australian Government, graduated from Bond University with a Bachelor of Laws in 1994, before commencing his journey with DFAT as a graduate recruit.

Since that time, he has advised on numerous international political issues, including the kidnapping of an aid worker, who was released unharmed in August 2016 after being snatched at gunpoint and held hostage for four months in Afghanistan.

In 2003-2004, as an intelligence liaison, he drafted DFAT's response to the Senate Inquiry into the Bali Bombing, and coordinated its consular travel advice responses to terrorist threat information.

Through his work with DFAT, he has also been involved in various missions across the globe in Brunei, India, Jordan, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka, and obtained detailed headquarters-level experience for Iraq, the Levant, Malaysia, South Africa, Western Europe and Zimbabwe.

He is also a member of Mensa International, the largest high-IQ society in the world where members have an IQ in the 98th percentile or higher.

Mr Titus said Bond University had provided him with the foundations needed to succeed in his career internationally.  

"I look back fondly on my time at Bond University as both a learning experience and a career starter," he said.

"The sound understanding of the law and support I received from my teachers and mentors throughout my degree laid the foundations needed to venture into an international career at DFAT, which has quite literally taken me to all corners of the globe."

Mr Titus will share his wealth of knowledge at a public lecture at Bond University this Saturday (19 May) from 12:30pm, which is free for members of the community to attend.

He said the presentation - 'Diplomacy, but not as you know it' - aimed to inspire and educate the international relations professionals of tomorrow.

"I will be discussing what counter terrorism is and what peacekeeping really means, along with guiding the audience through the process of war,” he said.

“I want it to be an eye-opening experience for the bright minds of tomorrow.

"I am so honoured to receive the Robert Stable Medal, and to have the opportunity to provide advice for the next generation. I am incredibly grateful to Bond University and for the opportunities it continues to bestow on me, all these years later."

Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said the Alumni Awards were an opportunity to recognise the innovation, creativity and leadership displayed by its alumni, who were working at the top of their field right around the world.

"It was with great pleasure that I presented Mr Titus with our most prestigious award in recognition of the stellar example he has set within our community and internationally," said Professor Brailsford. 

"I congratulate him - and each of our award winners tonight. It is a truly uplifting experience to see our students, past and present, achieve so much." 

Community Achievement recipient and Bachelor of Law and Arts alumna, Kate Gibson, was recognised for her numerous achievements in criminal defence work internationally, including assisting in the development and implementation of a training program for Rwandan defence lawyers in Africa last year (2017).

Young Alumni Award winner and Bond University Bachelor of Medical Studies and Doctor of Medicine alumna, Helena Franco, was honoured for her commitment to - and research in - medicine.

She is already breaking new ground in her career, including being part of the Organising Committee for the International Global Surgery Symposium, the first-ever global surgery student conference, which was held in Belgium earlier this month (May).

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