Foreign Office Blogs

A unique insight into UK foreign policy

31st January 2017 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

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

Things from Vienna? Or Viennese things?

The clock is slightly fake.  Its large face, with a hint of what I believe may be 1930s or 1950s design, displays not only hour, minute and second hands, but also – mostly – the correct time. Take it off the wall, however, and you will see that the original electric mechanism has been replaced […]

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31st January 2017 Geneva, Switzerland

Julian Braithwaite

by Julian Braithwaite

Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva

The World’s Doctor

At the end of May the nations of the world will meet in Geneva to elect the next Director General of the World Health Organisation. It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of millions rests on the decision. That is why the United Kingdom is supporting the candidacy of Dr David Nabarro. The […]

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30th January 2017 Tripoli, Libya

Peter Millett

by Peter Millett

Ambassador to Libya, Tripoli

Geography Rules the World

“Location, location, location” is a favourite slogan of estate agents. If you’re buying a house or a flat, the location is crucial.  Is it close to shops, transport, schools?  Is it quiet and peaceful? And who are the neighbours? Location is equally important in international politics.  Geography defines the nation.  If there are mountains, invasion […]

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30th January 2017 London, UK

Alex Beard CBE

Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House

Bringing the very best of both opera and ballet to an international audience

The Royal Opera House, home to two of the world’s great artistic companies – The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet – thrives, indeed depends, on the international. With almost 20 nationalities represented within The Royal Ballet, many international guest artists performing with The Royal Opera each Season, and nine nationalities represented within the world […]

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27th January 2017 London, UK

Barbara Woodward

HM Ambassador to China

Happy New Year of the Rooster!

Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in the world. There are twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, starting with the Rat, including the highly auspicious Dragon and finishing with the Pig. I’m an Ox, which next comes around in early 2021. Here in Beijing, in the last few weeks, red lanterns have […]

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26th January 2017 Skopje, Macedonia

Charles Garrett

British Ambassador to Macedonia

#Macedonia2027: Your feedback matters

Last week I asked where you would like Macedonia to be in 2027.  I illustrated the question with a vision of a country moving strongly forward. A successful European state, ahead of the pack in the Balkans, leading by example. Name issue resolved. In NATO. Negotiating with the EU. Of course, in an exercise like […]

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26th January 2017 Science Innovation USA

Patricia Gruver

Science & Innovation Officer, Los Angeles

The Future of Farming: How to Feed the Planet

The global population is expected to increase by 38% in 2050 from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 9.6 billion in 2050. With our increasing detriment to the environment and a changing climate, this alarming statistic begs the question: how will we feed everyone? Plant phenomics, an emerging science that studies how a crop’s traits change […]

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25th January 2017 London, UK

James Macsween

Managing Director at Macsween

Macsween and Burns Night

James Macsween, Managing Director at Macsween, tells us about the importance of haggis to Burns and how Macsween has benefited from it. January 25th is one of Scotland’s most celebrated dates and an annual tribute to our National Bard. When Scottish writer, Robert Burns wrote his poem ‘Address to a Haggis’, he could never have […]

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25th January 2017 Holy See

Sally Axworthy

by Sally Axworthy

Ambassador to the Holy See


January is traditionally a time for New Year’s resolutions and for planning ahead, so it seems a good moment to look at what the year may have in store for the UK and the Holy See.  My starting point is Pope Francis’s address to the diplomatic corps, in which he set out how he sees […]

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24th January 2017 London, UK

Sue Breeze

Head of Human Rights for a Stable World Team

The Holocaust: Why is it still relevant today?

Introduction by Rob Fenn, Head of Human Rights & Democracy Department: By any standards, 2016 was a dramatic year. Finding myself in interesting times, my personal reaction has been to read history. My phone is now crammed with adventure novels set in an equally tumultuous period for the UK, the mid 17th Century – and […]

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