Digital Diplomacy

The FCDO's digital work

14th January 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 4, Russia 1991-95: have a plan, and break it

Outside “The Two Chairmen”[1], the beer was cool and fresh. My colleague raised his glass.  ‘You had children a few years back,’ he said.  ‘We can’t decide on the best time.  What do you think?’ ‘Some things, you can’t plan,’ I said. I had met Pamela, a colleague in London, in 1990. Later that year, […]

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25th November 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 2, 1983-87: languages change everything

I was working in the personnel departments of the FCO[1] when Judith Macgregor[2], head of my section, put her head around the door and beckoned. An officer named John Everard[2] had resigned from his post as second secretary (political) and press officer at the British Embassy in Vienna, she said.  They needed a German speaker, […]

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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. 3 October 1979 My […]

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21st September 2020 Belgrade, Serbia

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

UK Ambassador to Serbia

The Online Diplomat

Sian MacLeod

I was recently asked to open a conference on communications. Because of the public health situation the conference was held virtually, that is  to say, online. It’s a dangerous thing to be an amateur opening a conference of professionals. To do so using their own medium was, to use typically British irony, ‘courageous’. I realised […]

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20th September 2019 Beirut, Lebanon

Chris Rampling MBE

by Chris Rampling MBE

British Ambassador to Lebanon

12 months in Lebanon: ‘It can sometimes be hard to stay optimistic … but here’s why I do’

This time last year was one of the highlights of my career – presenting Queen Elizabeth’s letter to President Aoun that nominated me as Ambassador. The anniversary has allowed reflection on the year: for Lebanon, and for the UK. My first 12 months in Lebanon has been remarkable. Rolls Royce and MEA signed our largest […]

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11th July 2019 London, UK

Peter Jones

Chief Operating Officer

Diplomacy has never been more relevant. Here’s why

Last year was the deadliest year on record for journalists. UNESCO records suggest that at least 99 journalists were killed, 348 imprisoned and 60 held hostage. That is why, this week, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has jointly hosted with the Canadian government a major international conference in London, putting media freedom at the forefront […]

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29th April 2019 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

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

Vienna Girlsday: lessons in Styrian dialect and a visit to Burgenland

Last week, for the second year running, the British Embassy Vienna took part in the “Vienna Girlsday”. I certainly learned a lot. The aim of the “Girlsday” (in German it is called “Töchtertag” or “daughters’ day”) is to introduce young women to areas of work where women are under-represented.  In the UK in 2019 we […]

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17th August 2018 London,UK

Paul Brummell

by Paul Brummell

Head of Soft Power and External Affairs Department, Communication Directorate

The Government Art Collection

After four fascinating years as ambassador in Romania, I started a new role last month as Head of Soft Power and External Affairs Department in the FCO Communication Directorate. I thought it would be interesting to use this blog to explore the sources of British soft power and its complex relationship to government. Exploration started with our […]

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22nd February 2018 Abuja, Nigeria

Jibikeoluwa Faborode

Chevening Programme Officer

Disability inclusion begins with You and I

I recently organised a targeted Chevening Scholarship application workshop for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Chevening is a holistic UK government funded scheme that prepares talented individuals for the future leadership of Nigeria, through a cultural exchange and master’s degree programme in the UK. The workshop was hosted in collaboration with the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) […]

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25th September 2017 Geneva, Switzerland

Matthew Forman

Head, Political and Human Rights Team, UK Mission to the UN, Geneva

What a Difference a Year Makes

Leaving aside the extremely grim subject matter which forms the basis of our work, one of the things I like the least in my job is having to say goodbye to good people. This summer we bade farewell to another great set of colleagues including the UK’s own James Mclaughlin and the ever wonderful, and […]

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