On June 16, Buckingham Palace announced the appointment of Asif Ahmad as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. This is one of highest forms of recognition by Her Majesty for service in foreign and Commonwealth affairs.
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George traces its history to 1818, with its motto- AuspiciumMeliorisAevi (Token of a better age). The ranks of the Order are: Knight/Dame Grand Cross, Knight/Dame Commander and Companion (CMG).
Ahmad, has served as Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau from July 2013. Prior to that, he was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand and Laos. In August, 2017, he will take up his new 4 year assignment as High Commissioner to Jamaica.
In response to the announcement, Ahmad said, “I am most grateful to Her Majesty the Queen for this honour for service. I owe this appointment to people who have nurtured and developed me over the years. As a member of the Diplomatic Service, my colleagues in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in my teams in Thailand and the Philippines have played a substantial part in working with me to deliver positive outcomes for the United Kingdom. In carrying out my duties, I have been encouraged and motivated by the impact we have on the lives of people, sometimes in very challenging circumstances”.
During his term in the Philippines, Ahmad witnessed the delivery of UK assistance to victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Two way trade and investment has reached record highs, including being the second fastest growing global market for British exports in 2015. The British Embassy in Manila has doubled in size. The Embassy now hosts global and regional finance and personnel functions for the UK’s diplomatic missions as well as visa operations for 14 countries.
In Thailand, Ahmad dealt with violent political events surrounding the Embassy in 2010, and the response to severe flooding that encroached Bangkok a year later.
As the head of the foreign policy team that covered ASEAN, Ahmad was involved in facilitating the relief operation for Cyclone Nargis in Burma in 2008. Both in Rangoon and from London, he was actively involved in the campaign for the release of Aung San SuuKyi.