Leigh Turner

Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

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UK in Austria

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23rd October 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Diplomatic lessons 1, 1979-83: Don’t judge a book by its cover

I’m delivering an online apprenticeship talk to staff in Vienna when someone asks me if I’ve thought of summarising everything I’ve learned in my 41-year career.  ‘No,’ I say.  They urge me to think again. So here is the first of several blogs seeking to distil a few lessons.  Comments welcome. My first day in […]

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15th October 2020 Vienna, Austria

Pauline Trepczyk

Climate Change Policy Officer, British Embassy Vienna

Debating: today’s most important skill?

On 29 September the British Embassy Vienna invited young people from all over Austria to join a Debate Workshop. Youth from Salzburg, Upper and Lower Austria, Carinthia as well as Vienna came together, separated by appropriate “baby elephants” (Austria’s 1.5m rule) to practice their skills. Trainers from Debattierklub Vienna, Joy Edobor and Miri Muntean, introduced […]

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17th September 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Why the British Embassy in Vienna is proud to be green

Diplomats from the British Embassy are off to an important meeting in Vienna.  The Ringstrasse, as so often, is gridlocked.  No problem for our diplomats, who hop on an embassy bike and arrive not only on time, but in style. Our embassy bikes mean that British diplomats in Vienna make many journeys by bike which […]

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7th September 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

How Austria has – and hasn’t – changed

‘You were a diplomat in Vienna in the ‘80s?’ My interlocutor scans me, perhaps wondering why I am still working, or alive. ‘It must have changed so much!’ ‘Well…’ I seek a diplomatic reply. ‘Yes and no.’ Oscar Wilde famously said “Comparisons are odious”. I often cite him when asked which of my diplomatic postings I have preferred out […]

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28th August 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

How a British company keeps Austrian train passengers online

A train swoops at high speed through the Austrian Alps. Despite the stunning scenery, the passengers are – this being the twenty-first century – more interested in what’s happening on their screens as they work, browse the internet and use social media… also at high speed, thanks to a British company.   Nomad Digital is the world’s leading provider of passenger and fleet connectivity solutions […]

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11th August 2020 Vienna, Austria

Karin Baker

Political Officer, British Embassy Vienna

Good news for students in Austria and the UK

The UK education sector is one of the most popular destinations for international – EU and non-EU – students to study abroad. Worldwide, only the US attracts larger numbers. Academics like working in the UK, too: in 2017-18, 20% of staff working at UK higher education institutions were international, with almost 60% of that 20% […]

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5th August 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

COVID-19 vaccine developed in Austria – produced in Scotland

“When we started to develop our vaccine candidate we needed to push; now there is a massive pull from governments around the world,” says Thomas Lingelbach, CEO of Vienna-based pharmaceutical company Valneva, during my visit to his HQ at the Vienna Bio Center. Work is intense at Valneva when we visit.  The Austro-French vaccine company […]

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3rd July 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Online Q&A for UK nationals in Austria – Monday 6 July

UPDATE: The questions and answers (including those from Facebook) can be downloaded here.  Do you have questions about how the UK’s exit from the EU affects you?  The embassy is running an online Q&A session on Monday 6 July. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team here and colleagues in London have continued to work closely […]

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15th June 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Making face masks and jobs in Grimsby

“Two months ago this was just an empty warehouse”, the project manager says. We are entering a building adjacent to the Vienna HQ of Austrian company Hygiene Austria, south of Vienna.  Inside, after donning face masks and spraying sanitiser on our hands, we find a hive of activity.  Workers in sterile gowns operate high tech […]

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3rd June 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Cycling in Vienna: diplomatic, healthy and green

The freshly oiled crank purrs like a sewing machine. The sun has come out from behind the clouds, casting a silverish gleam on the Danube.  There is a mild breeze. Hundreds of people are cycling on Vienna’s 21 kilometre-long Danube island and I am one of them. To me this is pure happiness. Cycling is […]

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.

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