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LSE Diplomacy Commission

A forum for informed, private and strategic discussion on the future of British diplomacy.

An experienced group of Commissioners held private hearings with expert witnesses to produce the Investing for Influence report on the UK's place in the world.

We sought Commissioners with experience at highest levels of government, embassies, the civil service and the intelligence services, and put them together with perspectives from journalism and academic expertise from the LSE and beyond.

The Commission conducted its work through a series of hearings, where expert witnesses presented evidence to the Commissioners and answered questions from them. To promote discussion, these hearings took place in private and witnesses will remain anonymous. They included expert practitioners and academics from diverse fields: from finance to cyber, from international development to counter-terrorism, from transnational business to civil society NGOs.

LSE Diplomacy Commission Report

Investing for Influence: LSE Diplomacy Commission Report

What should be the purpose of British foreign policy? With the Foreign Office and diplomatic service under budgetary pressure, this report argues the UK should reassess its international role from first principles.


Biographies from time of publication.

Sir Michael Aaronson is a Professorial Research Fellow and Director of CII – the Centre for International Intervention - at the University of Surrey.  From 1995-2005 he was Director General of Save the Children UK, and from 1988-1995 was the charity’s Overseas Director. From 1972-1988 he was a member of the UK Diplomatic Service. From 2007-2012 he was a Civil Service Commissioner, appointed by the Crown to maintain the principle of fair and open recruitment to the UK Civil Service.

Professor Michael Cox is Founding Co-Director of LSE IDEAS and Emeritus Professor at the International Relations Department at the LSE. He is also Co-Head of the United States International Affairs Programme, Executive Programme Director and an Academic Management Committee Member. Prof Cox is also an Expert Advisor to the FCO and Visiting Professor at Catholica University Milan and LUISS Rome. He was previously Chair of the ECPR and Editor of International Politics Journal.

Dr Tarak Barkawi is Reader in the Department of International Relations, London School of Economics. He earned his doctorate at the University of Minnesota and specialises in the study of war, armed forces and society with a focus on conflict between the West and the global South. He is author of Globalization and War and many scholarly articles.

Sir Richard Dearlove is currently the Master of Pembroke College Cambridge and newly appointed Chair of Trustees of the University of London. He served as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from August 1999 until his retirement in July 2004. He is a career intelligence officer of thirty-eight years standing and has served in Nairobi, Prague, Paris, Geneva and Washington as well as in a number of key London-based posts.

Professor Rosemary Foot is Professor of International Relations, and the John Swire Senior Research Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford University. She is also a member of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford. Her principal research interests are in the International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, particularly security policies, human rights, regional institutional and normative developments, and US-China relations.

Professor Christopher Hill is Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations, and Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). From 1974-2004 he taught in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was the Montague Burton Professor from 1991.

Lord Frank Judd is an Emeritus Governor of LSE and Labour Peer since 1991.  He has served as Minister for Overseas Development in 1976-77 and Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1977-79.  He was Director, Voluntary Service Overseas, 1980-85 and Director of Oxfam,1985-91.  Rapporteur to Council of Europe on the Conflict in Chechnya 1999-2003.  Since 2012 he has been President of the Middle East Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Bridget Kendall was appointed as BBC diplomatic correspondent in November 1998. Based in London she covers top foreign stories for radio and television news, reporting on foreign policy issues and their impact on Britain. She was Moscow correspondent from 1989 to 1995 and then as Washington correspondent from 1994 to 1998.

Stephen King is HSBC’s Group Chief Economist. He is directly responsible for HSBC’s global economic coverage and co-ordinates the research of HSBC economists all over the world. He is a member of the UK Government’s Asia Task Force. He has given written and oral evidence on the economic effects of globalization and on monetary policy to the House of Commons Treasury Committee and the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

Jonathan Luff is a former diplomat and advisor to the Prime Minister on innovation and international issues. He founded Epsilon Advisory Partners in 2013, providing advice on strategy, partnerships, and innovation to senior executives and fast-growing companies. At 10 Downing Street he was the first Director of the 'GREAT' Campaign, the British government's award-winning global communications campaign promoting inward investment, exports and enterprise.

Sebastian Mallaby is the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An experienced journalist and public speaker, Mr. Mallaby is a contributing editor for the Financial Times and served previously as a columnist and editorial board member at the Washington Post.

Sir Christopher Meyer is a former British ambassador the United States and Germany, as well as former chairman of Press Complaints Commission. He is author of DC Confidential; Getting Our Way and Only Child.

Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones is a former BBC Governor and Chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). From 12 May 2010, until stepping down in May 2011, she was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron as his Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism at the Home Office with a permanent position on the newly created National Security Council.

Gideon Rachman became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok

Susan Scholefield held a distinguished career in the Civil Service. Roles in the Balkans Secretariat, Northern Ireland Office and in the Cabinet Office as head of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat were followed by a series of top level positions in the MOD culminating in her most recent role as Director General, Human Resources and Corporate Services. In 1999 she was awarded a CMG in the New Year's Honours for her work on Bosnia.

Lord Wei of Shoreditch is the Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for East Asian Business, Hong Kong Sub Committee Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on China (APPCG) and also the Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade & Investment. He is the youngest member of the House of Lords and the only active ethnic Chinese member of it; additionally, he is the most senior ethnic Chinese politician in the European Union. He is interested in economic and cultural ties between the United Kingdom and China and takes an active interest in British Chinese community issues.

The LSE Diplomacy Commission was supported by a LSE HEIF 5 award.

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