Former Ambassador of Fiji to the United States of America Solo Mara was this week announced the new Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum. Mara replaces Francois Martel, a French born national of Samoa.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made the announcement at the PIDF Plenary Session on Governance and Institutional issues.
According to Fijian media – Bainimarama said the new appointment will be charged with stripping away the more bureaucratic systems within PIDF to streamline operations and foster an institutional culture that better leverages the greatest competitive advantages.
“We will continue to carry Pacific interests and perspectives to the highest regional and international stages. And we will place a renewed focus on making this organisation a relevant force in the lives of every citizen it is intended to represent,” Bainimarama said.
The new appointment also coincides with Fijis Chairmanship of PIDF.
According to The Washington Diplomat – Mara was born in 1967 and is from Nacomoto village in the Naceva district of Fiji’s Kadavu province. He attended the Marist School in Suva, Fiji’s capital, graduating in 1983. Mara went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Fiji’s University of the South Pacific in 1988, a degree in politics from Sing Fu Kang College of Republic of China in 1991 and a master’s degree in international relations from the International University of Japan in 1997.
Mara began his government service as an official in the Ministry of the Interior in 1989. He moved to the office of Prime Minister Kamisese Mara in 1991 and became a senior policy analyst there later that year. He assumed a similar role in 1998 at the Ministry of the Interior.
Mara moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000 as an assistant secretary. He was sent to London as first secretary in Fiji’s High Commission there in 2002. In 2006, Mara returned to Fiji in the ministry’s division for international relations as its director, moving to vice secretary of the ministry the following year.
He was sent overseas again in 2008 as counselor in the Fiji embassy in Brussels, but returned home the following year to become the ministry’s Permanent Secretary. In 2011, Mara was made High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, with concurrent responsibilities as ambassador to Germany, Denmark, Israel, Ireland and the Holy See.
Mara is married to Kerry Megan Mara and has four children. He speaks English and Japanese.