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Peter Millett

Ambassador to Libya, Tripoli

Part of UK in Jordan

30th December 2012

A Great Year

Cartoons at this time of year usually show a battered, bruised and battle-scarred old man handing over the torch of time to a new-born infant, symbolising the passage of time from the horrors of the old year to the hopes of the new. 

The change of year always inspires thoughts about what has passed and what is coming over the horizon.  What can we celebrate?  What can we thankfully forget? And what is coming next?

The last 12 months have been momentous and historic for all sorts of reasons. For me, 2012 will remain a year of celebration: Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympics …. and Andy Murray finally winning something on the Centre Court at Wimbledon.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was plagued with bad weather as the pageant of vessels sailed down the Thames in pouring rain.  Here in Amman we celebrated the Royal connection with an exhibition of photographs of HM Queen Elizabeth with the late King Hussein and a large celebration in the garden with a giant screen showing the concert outside Buckingham Palace.

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games was another memorable occasion which we marked with a special Suhour since the timing coincided with the timing of the Ramadan meal.  The ceremony encompassed many characteristics of modern Britain: public service, fun and humour: the Olympic rings being forged from the remnants of the Industrial Revolution, the commemoration of the National Health Service, the shock and humour of the Queen jumping out of a helicopter and the searing image of the 200 petals symbolising each participating nation coming together to form a magnificent Olympic flame. 

The Olympic and Paralympic Games left a legacy: the key message of the importance of sport has touched every nation.  The preparations helped to renovate a neglected part of London leaving brand-new sports facilities for local communities.  And they showed that Paralympians can compete with as much determination, skill and entertainment as able-bodied athletes.

We brought that legacy to Jordan: one of my most memorable days was a visit to Ramtha where the Embassy had paid to refurbish the football and basketball pitches at the Boys’ Secondary School.  The boys had named the new pitch “Wembley” and knew all about Chelsea and Manchester United. The boys were bursting with energy and gratitude that they could play sport within the safety of the school.

For the UK in Jordan, it has certainly been A Great Year with visits to Jordan by Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and two other Cabinet Ministers.  And His Majesty’s visits to London highlighted the intense interest in Jordan as a stable country surrounded by crises and problems. 

These visits are a lot more than the newspaper headlines suggest with the bland reports of “discussing regional issues” and “strengthening ties”.  They are about a common analysis of the big issues of the day: how to end the slaughter in Syria; how to bring justice for the Palestinians and how to help young Jordanians find jobs. And they are about practical steps that we can take together to bring security and prosperity to both our countries, to Europe and to the Middle East.

The end of 2012 also marks two years of the Arab Spring, about which many words have been written.  It is inevitable that 2013 brings similar challenges, promises and risks.  Making predictions is always a dangerous business.  And so is making resolutions, which, as they say, go in one year and straight out the other.  Let’s hope that this New Year will not be an opportunity to make a new start on old habits, but a chance to look to a brighter future for all.

About Peter Millett

Peter arrived in Tunis on 23 June 2015 to take up his post as Ambassador to Libya. Previously he was British Ambassador to Jordan from February 2011 to June 2015. He was High Commissioner to…

Peter arrived in Tunis on 23 June 2015 to take up his post as
Ambassador to Libya.
Previously he was British Ambassador to Jordan from February 2011 to June 2015.
He was High Commissioner to Cyprus from 2005 – 2010.
He was Director of Security in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
from 2002-2005, dealing with all aspects of security for British
diplomatic missions overseas.
From 1997-2001 he served as Deputy Head of Mission in Athens.
From 1993-96 Mr Millett was Head of Personnel Policy in the FCO.
From 1989-93 he held the post of First Secretary (Energy) in the UK
Representative Office to the European Union in Brussels, representing
the UK on all energy and nuclear issues.
From 1981-1985 he served as Second Secretary (Political) in Doha.
Peter was born in 1955 in London.  He is married to June Millett and
has three daughters, born in 1984, 1987 and 1991.  
His interests include his family, tennis and travel.