Ivor Roberts (diplomat)

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Sir Ivor in London, November 2011

Sir Ivor Anthony Roberts, KCMG, FCIL (born 24 September 1946) is former British diplomat and the current President of Trinity College, Oxford. He was previously British Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland, and Italy. He was knighted in 2000.

Education[edit]

Born in Liverpool, Roberts was educated at St Mary's College, Crosby and the University of Oxford (Keble College, now Honorary Fellow), graduating with a degree in Modern Languages in 1968 and proceeded to take his MA in 1972.

Diplomatic career[edit]

Roberts joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as Third Secretary in 1968. He went to study Arabic at MECAS in the Lebanon in 1969, and was posted to Paris in 1970. He was acting Head of Chancery in Luxembourg in 1973 before returning later that year to the FCO to serve firstly in Eastern European and Soviet Department (Balkans desk), then in Western European Department (German desk) and subsequently in European Integration Department, where he worked on the European Community's Common Agricultural Policy and the European Parliament. He was appointed First Secretary at the British High Commission in Canberra in 1978.[1] In 1980 he was posted temporarily to the newly independent Pacific state of Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides) as Political Adviser at the time of a rebellion. He returned to Canberra as Head of the Economic and Commercial Department and Agricultural Adviser until 1982. He then returned to London and took up the post of Deputy Head of News Department in the FCO.[2]

From 1989 to 1993 he was Minister in the British Embassy in Madrid. He was appointed Chargé d'Affaires and Consul-General in Belgrade in March 1994, and after recognition of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by the United Kingdom, he became Ambassador. During his time at Belgrade he conducted negotiations on behalf of the international mediators (David Owen and Carl Bildt) with both the Yugoslav authorities and the Bosnian Serbs.[3]

Roberts was also involved in the negotiations for the release of British soldiers held hostage by the Bosnian Serbs in May/June 1995. He left Belgrade at the end of 1997. In 1998-99 he took a sabbatical year as Senior Associate Member of St Antony's College, Oxford.

Roberts returned as Ambassador to Ireland 1999–2003, and to Italy from March 2003 until his retirement in 2006.[3]

Post retirement[edit]

KCMG Badge and Breast Star

After Sir Ivor retired from HM Diplomatic Service in September 2006 he took up his post as President of Trinity College, Oxford.[3]

On 24 September 2006 (his 60th birthday), The Observer's Pendennis column reported that following his outspoken valedictory report, the FCO has abandoned the centuries-old tradition of allowing departing diplomats to speak their minds. In April 2007, The Independent confirmed the story.[4]

Affiliations[edit]

Sir Ivor is the Chairman of the Council of the British School at Rome and a Patron of the Venice in Peril Fund. He also chairs the Board of the King's College Group in Madrid and is a Member of the International Advisory Board of The Independent News and Media Group.

Family[edit]

Roberts married Elizabeth Smith, a scholar of French poetry and formerly a diplomat in the Australian Foreign Service, in 1974. The couple have two sons and a daughter.

Lady Roberts is a writer and lecturer on Balkan politics.[3]

Publications[edit]

In 2009, Roberts edited the sixth edition of Satow's Diplomatic Practice, originally written in 1917 by Sir Ernest Satow and widely used in embassies throughout the world (Oxford University Press: 2009; ISBN 978-0-19-955927-5). It was reviewed by Sir Jeremy Greenstock later the same year.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Diplomatic Service List 1989 (page 287), HMSO; ISBN 0-11-591707-1
  2. ^ The Diplomatic Service List 1989 (page 287), ibid.
  3. ^ a b c d "Biography of Sir Ivor Roberts". Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  4. ^ MacIntyre, Donald (27 April 2007). "Former envoy makes devastating attack on Blair's 'bullshit bingo' management culture of diplomacy". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Greenstock, Jeremy (28 October 2009). "The rules of the game". The Times (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Shepherd
HM Ambassador to Italy
2003-2006
Succeeded by
Edward Chaplin
Preceded by
Veronica Sutherland
UK Ambassador to Ireland
1999-2003
Succeeded by
Stewart Eldon
Preceded by
New Mission
HM Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
1994-1997
Succeeded by
Brian Donnelly
Academic offices
Preceded by
Michael Beloff
President of Trinity College, Oxford
2006–
Succeeded by
incumbent