H.E. Dell Higgie (Current Chair)
Ambassador for Disarmament, H.E. Dell Higgie fills the role of Chair for New Zealand.
Dell Higgie is a career diplomat with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade. Her academic qualifications are in English Literature and in Law – including a Masters degree in international law.
Her Wellington-based appointments have included being New Zealand’s International Trade Law Adviser (responsible for New Zealand’s WTO litigation) and 6 years as New Zealand’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism and Director of MFAT’s International Security and Disarmament Division.
Her overseas-based positions have included Political Counsellor, Washington; Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg and Denmark; and Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva.
Currently, she is again a Wellington-based Ambassador-at-large – this time for Disarmament – and continues on in the role of Permanent Representative to the CD in Geneva.
Breifne O’Reilly (Former Co-Chair)
Breifne O’Reilly is the Ambassador of Ireland to Switzerland, Algeria and Liechtenstein and is based in Berne. Before taking up this post in August 2015, Ambassador O’Reilly was the Director of the Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Unit in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Ireland. He served as Ambassador of Ireland to Israel from 2009 to 2013.
During his time with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ambassador O’Reilly served as at Headquarters as Director of Russia, OSCE and Western Balkans Unit (2008 – 2009), Director of Human Resources (2006 – 2008) and Director of Institutions and Coordination in the European Union Division (2005 – 2006). He has also worked in Ireland’s Embassies in Washington D.C., Athens and London as well as the Consulate General in San Francisco.
He was called to the Bar of Ireland as a Barrister at Law in 1985 and prior to that received a Master’s degree in Modern Languages (German and French) from Trinity College Dublin.
He is married to Eavan Doyle and they have a son and a daughter.
Breifne O’Reilly has served as Co-Chair of the MTCR alongside his Icelandic Counterpart Bjarni Vestmann since October 2017.
Bjarni Vestmann (Former Co-Chair)
Bjarni Vestmann is currently Director of the Exercises and Operations Department in the Directorate for Defense of the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to this position, Director Vestmann served as Minister-Counsellor at the Directorate for International and Security Affairs from September 2016 until October 2017. Between 2010 and 2016, he was based in Brussels as the Head of the Finance and Administration Department of the Financial Mechanism Office, overseeing the administration of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants.
During his time in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bjarni Vestmann has served as an Icelandic delegate to NATO in Brussels and as a member of the Political Committee and the Military Committee, worked in various positions in Headquarters in Reykjavik, and has served in Iceland’s Embassy in Stockholm.
Before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he worked as a journalist and news editor.
He received a Diploma of Advanced European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges in 1991 and has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Iceland. He was the recipient of a Rotary International Scholarship from 1990 to 1991.
He is married to Rakel Árnadóttir and they have three daughters.
Bjarni Vestmann has served as Co-Chair of the MTCR alongside his Irish Counterpart Breifne O’Reilly since October 2017.
After his graduation as doctor of law, Thomas Hajnoczi joined the Austrian foreign service.
Over the past four decades his posts abroad included Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway, Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Specialized Organisations in Geneva.
At the ministry in Vienna he has served i.a. as Director for Security Policy and Head of Department for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. To the latter position he returned in 2017 with the rank of Ambassador.