Tom Fletcher » British Ambassador to Lebanon

Magna Carta and the ‘Mother of Laws’

This week is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. This was celebrated in the UK as the moment when the barons imposed on the monarch an agreement for greater liberties and rights, a milestone on the way to many of the freedoms we enjoy today. That journey reached a high point with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, still one of the most beautiful and powerful documents ever written. … Read more »Magna Carta and the ‘Mother of Laws’

TECH, TALENT, A BROKEN TREADMILL (AND MAJOR TOM)

Last month, we launched the UK Lebanon Tech Hub. You can see a clip of a drone delivering my speech – for the first and last time, I can suggest that Enrique Iglesias take note. I normally try to write speeches while running. Jogging with bodyguards makes me look like the poor man’s slow Madonna, so this is usually on a treadmill. The morning of the launch was one of … Read more »TECH, TALENT, A BROKEN TREADMILL (AND MAJOR TOM)

Tolerating the Intolerable: Syria, Four Years On

On the first anniversary of the Syria conflict, I wrote about the staggering impact it had already had – those numbers seem small now. On the second anniversary, I wrote about the generosity of Syria’s neighbours and parts of the international community, the frustrations of diplomacy, and the need to maintain a sense of rage. On the third anniversary, I wrote about the prospects for Lebanon’s millionth refugee. As the … Read more »Tolerating the Intolerable: Syria, Four Years On

Crayons and Catharsis: Inspirational Lebanese Women on International Women’s Day

As we mark International Women’s Day, discrimination and violence against women and girls remain all too present. In Lebanon we continue to lobby for better political representation for women, and to challenge inequality, an issue worth being undiplomatic about. I want to share with you guest blogposts by two great Lebanese women who have inspired me: Zeina Daccache (on her work using drama therapy with survivors of conflict) and Leena … Read more »Crayons and Catharsis: Inspirational Lebanese Women on International Women’s Day

What Lebanese Students Tell Me About Us

I spend a lot of time in universities, talking with students about their hopes for the region and their perceptions of the UK. Lebanon has always been a good place to listen to the currents surging through the Middle East. These sessions are always lively, surprising, challenging. It is foolish to try to generalise about such a complex and dynamic set of opinions, but here nevertheless is a foolish try … Read more »What Lebanese Students Tell Me About Us

New Technology for Old Challenges: Innovation and Development

Feature image for:  New Technology for Old Challenges: Innovation and Development

The Syria conflict has created the biggest refugee crisis in modern history – imagine everyone inside the M25 leaving Britain. Lebanon is dealing with an unprecedented influx of those vulnerable refugees, 78% of them women and children. The international community’s response has been huge – we are spending more in Lebanon per square kilometre than anywhere in the world. UK funding for Lebanon in the past two years is greater … Read more »New Technology for Old Challenges: Innovation and Development

UNITY AND IMPUNITY, TEN YEARS ON

Spring 2005 was when I decided that I would one day work in Lebanon. I was based in our Paris embassy when Rafik Hariri and 21 others were murdered. I remember reading the powerful reports sent by the then ambassador, James Watt, and sharing frantic updates with Lebanese and French friends. The Valentine’s Day massacre ripped through Lebanon’s political fabric, and robbed Lebanon of a strong and visionary leader. It triggered an … Read more »UNITY AND IMPUNITY, TEN YEARS ON

Parting Shots – An Alternative View of the UK in the Middle East

All over the Foreign Office network, we draw on advice and analysis from our brilliant locally engaged staff. One of our colleagues here, Nadim Zaazaa, is leaving us to work on an exciting project – the UK-Lebanon Tech Hub. See here for more details. He shared with me some parting thoughts about the Middle East, and the UK’s role in the region. These are not necessarily my views, nor those … Read more »Parting Shots – An Alternative View of the UK in the Middle East

Keeping the ‘Islamic State’ out of Lebanon, and Lebanon out of the ‘Islamic State’

All of us share the sadness of the French people at last week’s terrorist attack in Paris, and of the Lebanese people at the weekend attack in Tripoli. In their condemnation of the deaths in Paris, the four Muftis of Lebanon sent a powerful message against extremism. It was a reminder that many in this region have paid the ultimate price for freedom of expression. Just as the UK stands … Read more »Keeping the ‘Islamic State’ out of Lebanon, and Lebanon out of the ‘Islamic State’

ALEXANDER THE GREAT, SPEED DATING AND JAWBONE

I recently got a Jawbone ‘Up’, a device that monitors your daily activity, sleep patterns and exercise, and helps you better control your health. As a father of two boys, I don’t need anyone to tell me I don’t get enough sleep. But, like many, I’m outsourcing the collection of my data to a plastic bracelet. Anyone who watches a 3 year old with an iPad knows that our basic … Read more »ALEXANDER THE GREAT, SPEED DATING AND JAWBONE