Former Ambassador & College Head
After school in Hertfordshire I studied modern languages at Cambridge University, and from there joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. During my time as a diplomat my overseas postings included Hong Kong, Beijing, the European Communities in Brussels, Paris, the United Nations in New York and Warsaw. My career centred in particular on East Asia: I studied Chinese at Hong Kong University and in all spent 18 years working in or on China, ending as British Ambassador there from 2002 to 2005. I was much involved in negotiating the return of Hong Kong to China in the 1980s and 1990s.
On my retirement from the FCO I was elected Master of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge and spent seven years there until 2012, heading the College and taking on a number of responsibilities for governance within the University. A particular concern of mine while I was at the College was broadening its intake to reflect better the educational and social mix of the British school population. I was informally involved in teaching on contemporary China, and still continue to act as a speaker, adviser and commentator on Chinese affairs. I hold a number of non-executive positions in business and the not for profit sector, mainly with a China connection.
I am currently a postgraduate student at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, studying Asian art. My other interests include the arts (music, opera, the theatre) and mountain walking.
Independent Life Peer & Consultant
Reader in Early Modern European History, University of Cambridge
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BBC News & Radio Presenter