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Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots: an Australian Diplomat in the Arab World

By Robert Bowker - ISBN: 9781922850423

RRP: $34.95

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots an Australian Diplomat in the Arab World
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Author Bio

Bob Bowker retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2008 after a 37-year career working mostly on the Middle East. He was posted to Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 1976, and Syria from 1979 to 1981. He was Australian ambassador to Jordan (1989-1992). He was Director of External Relations and Public Information, and later Senior Adviser, Policy Research of UNRWA in 1997-1998, based in Gaza and Jerusalem. He was the Australian ambassador to Egypt (2005-2008) and non-resident Australian ambassador to Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Sudan.

He was DFAT scholar in residence at the Australian National University in 1994, working on questions relating to Middle East regional security; Visiting Reader at the Australian National University in 2004, teaching graduate courses on the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Persian Gulf security; Adjunct Professor from 2008 to 2016, teaching a graduate course on the politics of change in Egypt and the Arab Middle East, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies from 2017 to 2019. He is a frequent commentator in the media on the Middle East.

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Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots: an Australian Diplomat in the Arab World

By Robert Bowker - ISBN: 9781922850423

RRP: $34.95

Shortlisted for the 2023 ACT Book of the Year Award

ACT Shortlist - Apricots

After 50 years as an Australian diplomat, UN official, intelligence analyst, academic and company director working in and on the Middle East, Bob Bowker enjoys unique insights into the challenges, professional and personal, of representing Australia in the Arab world. In this occasionally light-hearted professional memoir, revealing something of the person behind the diplomat, he sets out his views and reflections on major Middle East issues and into what makes diplomacy in the Arab world effective. He also captures the complexity, the drama, the ambiguity and sometimes the absurdity of certain situations he faced as an Australian ambassador in the Arab world.

  • A sacked local staff member in Syria was found to be an informer for the secret police.
  • Overnight, a shipload of Australian sheep became Bulgarian
  • A judge in Sudan successfully prosecuted his own case in a murder trial.
  • As demonstrators hurled stones and bottles toward his office, women in his microenterprise program in Gaza sold soft drinks to the crowd.

Praise for Tomorrow There will be Apricots.

Read Graeme Dobell's review in ASPI's The Strategist by clicking here.

Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC, Australian Foreign Minister 1988-96
An evocative account by one of Australia’s most accomplished diplomats of the highs and lows, rewards and frustrations, delights and stresses of diplomatic life—not least, it seems, in working with their Ministers. But also a deeply thoughtful analysis of the multiple geopolitical challenges the Middle East continues to pose, charting possible ways forward in writing that is often provocative but always stimulating. Two books for the price of one—and both eminently worth the purchase. 

Nick Warner AO PSM, former Director of the Office of National Intelligence, Director General of ASIS, Secretary of the Department of Defence, and Australian Ambassador to Iran.
The Middle East matters to Australia, and we have been lucky in recent decades to have a group of exceptional diplomats dedicate their careers to understanding the region. Bob Bowker has been the dean of this group. His important book throws light on the history of our relationship with the Middle East, where we have gone wrong and right, and what we should do now. 

Professor the Hon Bob Carr, Australian Foreign Minister 2012-13.
As Foreign Minister I grew to admire the razor-sharp insights of our best diplomats.  It was an education and a pleasure to read their cables and savour their briefings.  Bob Bowker in his memoirs delivers deep knowledge matched with sound judgement not least in his appraisal of the Arab world and, among other things, its relationship with Israel and the Israeli rule of the 4.5 million Palestinians in the occupied territories.  All our best diplomats should write books like this.

Professor Amin Saikal AM FASSA, Founding Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, ANU
Dr Bowker has combined the skills, experiences and nuances of a very seasoned diplomat and academic analyst to produce a fascinating memoir. More than a story of his successful journey through the minefields of Arab politics and society, it is also a very enriching intellectual analysis of various tensions and conflicts that continue to shape the Arab world. The volume is a must read for not only policy and opinion makers, but also for students of the Middle East.

Emeritus Professor William Maley AM
It is our good fortune that Dr Robert Bowker has now chosen to write about his experiences working as an Australian ambassador, as a UN official, and as a distinguished academic and author of scholarly publications of notable depth and sophistication. This rich and engaging memoir not only chronicles the adventures of the Bowker family; it offers critical insights into the practice – and value – of expert diplomacy in a complex, fascinating and important part of the world


SALA Apricots PM Awards - Apricots 2023 SPN BOTY - Apricots 

2023 Miles Franklin - Tomorrow Apricots 2023 Indie Book Awards - Tomorrow Apricots 2023 QLD Literary Awards - Tomorrow Apricots

NSW History Awards - Tomorrow Apricots 2023 MargColin Awards - Tomorrow Apricots 

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