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UK at the OSCE

12th April 2017 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

A Very Special Visit

The OSCE begins a 2 week Easter recess this week, giving secretariat and 57 national delegations the chance to catch breath and look ahead after an exceptionally busy month of multilateral diplomacy. The broad nature of the OSCE remit is such that unrelated events and political developments can coincide to create flurries of intense activity. […]

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28th March 2017 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Not Just Someone Else’s Problem: Prevention of Torture

Over the past fortnight I have spent a lot of time reading and thinking about prevention of torture. As a diplomat my professional interest has largely related previously to relevant international conventions and to countries that disregard international obligation and use torture as a means of intimidation or coercion.  As a UK citizen I have […]

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8th March 2017 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Shifting Dynamics

I am one of 20 women ambassadors at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. We are 35% of the total (possibly the highest proportion at any multilateral organisation?). Women are also well represented at other levels in many OSCE delegations. It has been suggested to me that this might be because the OSCE […]

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2nd March 2017 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Facts, Opinions and Falsehoods: Freedom of Expression in a ‘Post-Truth’ Age

Freedom of expression, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international legal obligations, is one of the principles underlying the common ground upon which the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was built. From its earliest days the states of the OSCE (and its forerunner CSCE) were clear that this right […]

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22nd February 2017 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Relevant, Responsive and Responsible Democracy

Democracy…..has the disadvantage of merely counting votes not weighing them. (Dean Inge 1860-1954) Meeting in Paris in 1990 the states of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, forerunner of the OSCE, heralded ‘A New Era of Democracy, Peace and Unity’: We undertake to build, consolidate and strengthen democracy as the only system of […]

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30th August 2016 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

A Potsdam Prism

In January 1992 in the early days of a reunified Germany I visited Potsdam after dropping off the Vilnius Diplomatic Bag at the British offices in the old Berlin Olympic Stadium. I wanted to see the Palace of Sans Souci, where Frederick the Great had employed Quantz and CPE Bach. But even after three years […]

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19th May 2016 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Making the Case for Tolerance

This afternoon I will attend a memorial service in the City of London’s Guildhall to celebrate the long, eventful life of Sir Nicholas Winton, who died last year aged 106. As a young man, Sir Nicholas travelled briefly to Prague in 1938 to help a friend facilitating urgent evacuation of refugees from the looming Nazi […]

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9th December 2015 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Diplomatic Board Games

Years ago, studying in London, I was puzzled by the enthusiasm of international relations students for spending days at a time for running from room to room playing ‘Diplomacy’. Throughout my subsequent years as a diplomat the board game has seemed far removed from what I do – until now. Last week I attended my […]

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30th November 2015 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Belgrade Barometer

Admiral Fitzroy's Storm Barometer

This week the OSCE moves south with its 57 national delegations from Vienna to Belgrade, capital city of our 2015 Chair-in-Office Serbia, to await the arrival of our 57 government representatives for the annual Ministerial Council. The event may not make the headlines like NATO or EU Foreign Ministers. There will be no high profile […]

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23rd November 2015 Vienna, Austria

Sian MacLeod

by Sian MacLeod

Ambassador and Head of UK Delegation to the OSCE, Vienna

Diplomatic Notes and Instruments: Blog for St Cecilia’s Day

A colleague in the Balkans recently said “tell me about music and diplomacy”. Sitting in Vienna on a cold, grey Sunday that is the day of St Cecilia patron saint of music, seems as good a time as any. A flurry of academic writing has yet to persuade me of music’s capacity ‘to model international […]

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