Diarmid O'Sullivan has a First Class Honours degree from Oxford in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. After graduating, he joined Reuters and spent a year and a half in the United Arab Emirates. Later he returned to London where he was a finance writer for the Middle East
Economic Digest, particularly covering banking and investment but also politics. During this period he continued to make regular visits to the Middle East. He arrived in Indonesia in May 1998, just before the fall of Soeharto and worked as a freelance journalist before joining the Financial Times as their Jakarta correspondent. He has travelled widely in Indonesia, undertaking assignmments in Aceh, Maluku, West Kalimantan and East Java.