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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2nd September 2021 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 12: Tips for Diplomats and Ambassadors

These, however, are parsimonious days… The telegraph has made a difference in the position of Ambassadors. When men can and do receive instructions hourly about the smallest details, and, indeed, ask for them as if anxious to escape responsibility, it is easy to conceive that the Foreign Office will not again insist on the Treasury behaving […]

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31st August 2021 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

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

An immense cultural gift

When I first decided to apply for the job of ambassador in Vienna in March 2015, I visited the city.  A wise friend gave me a book: The Hare with Amber Eyes, by British ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal. I found it one of the most striking accounts of the Holocaust, and its impact […]

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25th August 2021 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 11: Give something back

When I was appointed as a junior diplomat to Vienna in September 1984, my letter of appointment, signed by Her Majesty the Queen and Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe, contained the phrase: “Whereas it appears to Us expedient to nominate some person of approved Industry, Fidelity and Knowledge [my emphasis] to perform the functions of an Officer […]

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29th July 2021 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 10: Immerse yourself

When we arrive on Heybeliada in the Sea of Marmara, a cool breeze lures us to climb on foot to our appointment at the Greek Orthodox seminary at the summit of the island.  The route leads through aromatic pine trees.  We arrive at the back door of the compound and stroll in.  The place seems […]

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23rd July 2021 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

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

100 Days to COP26

Today, COP26, the 26th UN-Climate Change Conference in Glasgow is only 100 days away. It is the last chance to keep accelerating climate change controllable. When it comes to the health of our planet, every day counts. Our planet is heating up. Through humanity’s impact, we have polluted our home more than it can cope […]

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14th July 2021 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 lesson 9: build your brand

“When you’re an ambassador,” the wise ex-ambassador told me, fixing me with her steely gaze, “you’re miles from London.  For visibility, you have to do something that people identify with you – build a brand, if you like.” In January 2008 I attended a conference in Miami on my way to Anguilla (“British diplomat in […]

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22nd June 2021 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 8, 2006-8: embrace responsibility

When I started work as head of the Overseas Territories Department of the FCO (as it then was) in July 2006, I inherited from my predecessor three steel cabinets stuffed full of files.  They covered all the fourteen territories for which I was responsible.  Being a tidy type, I went through them and threw away as many papers […]

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4th May 2021 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 7, Berlin 2002-2006: work isn’t everything

One of the first mornings of my career break, as I dropped the kids off at school, I ran into an Embassy colleague. “How the mighty have fallen,” he said. I couldn’t think of a witty response. In 2002, after working full-time for 23 years, I took four years of what the Foreign Office called […]

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19th April 2021 Vienna, Austria

Alex Hammond

Consular Policy Officer, British Embassy Vienna

Update for UK nationals in Austria and a new Q&A session

EDIT: Thanks for all your questions. We will start publishing answers shortly. If you are a UK national who was living legally in Austria before 1 January 2021, you need to apply for a new residency card before the end of 2021. Although you have until 31st December to do so, you should consider applying […]

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8th April 2021 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 6, Berlin 1998-2002: Specialise, or not?

Before our first child was born in 1992, we studied best practice in bringing up babies.  Two pieces of expert advice stuck out (NOTE: DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE).  First, babies should always be laid face-down in their cots, to minimise the risk of choking.  Second, natural lamb’s fleece in the cot was a great […]

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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.