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Check the latest blog posts.

03 Dec 2018

Jonathan Drew: There are some things that need a very deep intake of breath before starting.  Like writing to the PUS, six months into being a diplomat, to ask him to give his blessing to the formation of a staff LGBT+ group. On a cold November night twenty years ago, with some trepidation, I wrote that […]

30 Nov 2018

In the winter period when our days are cold and rainy we like to do cosy things and having a nice cup of tea with delicious home made cookies, bread or cake is one of them. For St Andrews day we asked our British colleagues to give us tips on some Scottish food which we […]

29 Nov 2018

When the people of the British Virgin Islands went to sleep on 5 September 2017, they knew a very large storm was approaching. But nothing could have prepared them for the devastation they would experience when Hurricane Irma made landfall the next day. The once crystal clear, turquoise waters would churn with debris and across […]

29 Nov 2018

I have spent 7 years working in the joint Home Office and Foreign Office Forced Marriage Unit (FMU). As I walk into work, anticipating the type of calls I will handle today still brings a mixture of apprehension but also promise – knowing the unit, every day, has the potential to save lives. During my […]

27 Nov 2018

“The meetings in Aberdeen, in May, and this week in Tunis, have shown that the UK is a key partner for Libya in boosting oil production,” Mustafa Sanalla, Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), said at the recent trade mission hosted in Tunis by the Libyan British Business Council (LBBC). I could not have […]

22 Nov 2018

When I tell people I live in Lagos, Nigeria, I often get quite a lot of quizzical looks… Why did you move there with your family? Is it safe?  What about Boko Haram? Is corruption not endemic? As the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, I know that the challenges of corruption, insecurity and poverty […]

22 Nov 2018

The Syrian conflict has dragged on for seven long awful years. Over 400,000 people have been killed and half Syria’s population displaced. A terrible price has been paid by the Syrian people for the failure to make the Geneva Agreement of 2012 stick. This agreement identified steps for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a […]

22 Nov 2018

Mongolia is everything you expect. Mongolia is also everything you don’t expect. At least that’s what I found as the UK’s Ambassador. The world’s least densely populated country, which was once one of the largest empires in world history, it is a land of immense beauty and rich history. Mongolia is also a vibrant 21st […]

16 Nov 2018

In October, the UK marked Green Great Britain Week and the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act. In Calgary, we marked it by taking a closer look at Alberta’s massive energy sector and the opportunities for the UK. The Canadian province of Alberta is known worldwide as the ‘gateway to the Rockies’ and home […]

16 Nov 2018

Last weekend we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting on the Western Front in the First World War. In the UK and Commonwealth, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month has become a time to stop, fall silent, and remember the sacrifice of those killed in […]

05 Jul 2017

In a society where stereotypes and prejudices are much present, one of the main challenges is to work on social cohesion of the vulnerable groups. Often it is a challenge itself to explain to people what is social cohesion, and what is diversity? Social cohesion is when we look at what all of us can […]

05 Jul 2017

I was delighted last week to attend the match between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Football Club (“FCO FC”) against the Austrian Foreign Ministry Team (“FC Außenamt”). FCO FC have been touring for years. I hosted them when I was Ambassador in Kiev in 2011 in the beautiful setting of the Dynamo Kyiv stadium when […]

04 Jul 2017

I recently travelled to Ukraine with 26 other OSCE ambassadors, visiting Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk and Slovyansk. This was an important visit for us. In our diplomatic meetings we devote a lot of time to Ukraine and management of the conflict in the Donbas that has already cost over 10,000 lives and disrupted millions more. We […]

04 Jul 2017

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Kairouan, a Tunisian city that has been a centre of scholarship and Islamic science for hundreds of years.  With some of the scholars, we talked about tolerance and co-existence, values that the city and its university have been promoting for generations. The city was founded in 670 […]

04 Jul 2017

Those of you who follow our UKinVietnam Facebook page closely will know that the UK believes strongly in the value of a vibrant and dynamic media. The media plays a vital role in providing reliable and accurate information, and giving people the opportunity to discuss and debate issues freely. That is why I’m proud of […]

03 Jul 2017

The Council came to a hot and weary end last Friday with some good results on the issues that mattered. Most importantly the EU and the African Group reached agreement on an investigation into reports of serious violations in the DRC. The Council also passed strong resolutions on violence against women, discrimination against women, child […]

03 Jul 2017

We now have the ability to surround ourselves with images that we record on our mobile phones. But the best images remain in your head. The monsoon rains have arrived in Kolkata. I was in my official car travelling through the city in the middle of a heavy storm last week. We passed an old […]

03 Jul 2017

Guangdong Province is China’s largest provincial economy and the principal driver of the national economy over the last 30 years. Under China’s innovation-driven development strategy, Guangdong is positioned as China’s Innovation Centre for Science and Technology Industry, with special focus on industrial development and technology transfer. Companies in Guangdong employ more R&D personnel than any […]

28 Jun 2017

How do objects and memories affect each other? I explored these issues in my earlier blog, Things from Vienna?  Or Viennese things? One of the costs, or possibly benefits, of of being a diplomat is that every few years you have to pack up everything you own and move to another country.  Once you’ve arrived […]

28 Jun 2017

It was my pleasure to work with Professor Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Academy (NSA), last week during his visit to Beijing. In my previous blog on this subject I highlighted the innovative space education model the NSA was introducing to China and how this was embraced by Chinese teachers and students. Well […]