Adrian Arena is the director of the International Human Rights Program at the Oak Foundation, which he joined as a program officer in February 2003. In its first year of operation, the program had an annual budget of $2 million and largely focused on supporting international NGOs. Over the past eight years it has expanded to a program with six staff and an annual budget of around $20 million, operating in diverse geographies with both local and international organizations.
Prior to joining the 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. Arena began his career in the Australian Foreign Service, serving as a diplomat at the Australian Embassies in Rome, Stockholm, and Tehran. He undertook a range of responsibilities including political and economic reporting, representation, and immigration work. Arena speaks Italian and French fluently and has studied Farsi and Indonesian.
Arena holds a degree in arts/law from the University of Sydney. He currently serves on the board of Ariadne (the European Human Rights Funders Network).