Mr Matthew Hedges took office at the British Embassy in Asuncion in August 2017. He will finish his mission in Paraguay in August 2020. Deputy Head of Mission John Davie, who joined the British Embassy in Asuncion in June, will become Chargé D’affaires in the transition period after Mr Hedges’ departure. The official announcement of Mr Hedges’ successor as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Paraguay is expected shortly.
During his three years as British Ambassador, Mr Hedges promoted the expansion of commercial ties between the UK and Paraguay, overseeing multiple exchanges between experts and business leaders. Cooperation in education and defence became a signature of the Paraguay-UK relationship throughout his tenure. The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst resumed its scholarship program for Paraguayan military officers, while the BECAL and the Chevening programmes signed an alliance which increased the number scholarships for Paraguayan citizens. Projects on transparency, media freedom, rights of women to live free of violence and rights of the LGBTQI+ community were some of the areas in which the British Embassy also offered its cooperation. Throughout his posting, but especially during the coronavirus pandemic, he has led the embassy’s efforts to support British nationals in the country.
Reflecting on his time in Paraguay, Mr Hedges said:
These have been an extraordinary three years in which I have found a new home, a passion for Jopara and mbeju, and a deep connection with the people and land of Paraguay.
Paraguay and the UK have much to offer each other in business, education, addressing global challenges like climate change, and shared values. This work will continue after I leave, through my excellent embassy colleagues and successor, who is due to arrive in a few months.
After his time in Paraguay, Mr Hedges will join the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in London as Director for Asia.