|British Ambassador to Ethiopia|
|Preceded by||Robert Tesh|
|Succeeded by||Sir Harold Walker|
|British Ambassador to Poland|
|Preceded by||Sir John Albert Leigh Morgan|
|Succeeded by||Sir Stephen Barrett|
|British High Commissioner to Nigeria|
|Preceded by||Sir Martin Ewans|
|Succeeded by||Sir Christopher MacRae|
|British High Commissioner to Australia|
|Preceded by||Sir John Coles|
|Succeeded by||Sir Roger Carrick|
20 June 1934|
Bristol, United Kingdom
|Died||19 September 2017citation needed]
Trinity Hospice, London
|Spouse(s)||Jane Maureen Cornwell|
|Children||Virginia, Louise, Owen|
|Alma mater||St Catharine's College, Cambridge|
Life and career
Barder was born in Bristol, the son of Harry and Vivien Barder. He was educated at Sherborne School and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the Footlights, the Cambridge University Musical Comedy Club, the St Catharine's College Boat Club and the Cambridge University Labour Club (Chairman, 1957).
Brian Barder did his National Service as 2nd Lieutenant, 7th Royal Tank Regiment, in Hong Kong (1952–1954). He joined the Colonial Office in London in 1957 (Private Secretary to the Permanent Under-Secretary, 1960–61). He transferred to the Diplomatic Service in 1965. From 1964-1968 he was First Secretary, UK Mission to the United Nations, dealing with decolonisation. He returned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London as Assistant Head of West African Department, including dealing with Biafra (1968–71). He became First Secretary and Press Attaché, Moscow (Soviet Union) (1971–73); and Counsellor and Head of Chancery, British High Commission, Canberra (Australia) (1973–77). In 1977-78 he was a course member at the Canadian National Defence College, Kingston, Ontario. In 1978 he returned to London as Head of Central and Southern, later Southern African Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1978–82). He was British Ambassador to Ethiopia (1982–86); Ambassador to Poland (1986–88); High Commissioner to Nigeria and concurrently Ambassador to Bénin (1988–91) and High Commissioner to Australia (1991–94).
He was awarded the KCMG in 1992.
The Ethiopian famine
Brian Barder was British Ambassador to Ethiopia during the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85. He played a key role in making possible the deployment of the Royal Air Force to Ethiopia for 14 months to move relief supplies from the ports to remote parts of the country where it was urgently needed. His role in the relief effort is described in The Ethiopian Famine, and A Year In The Death of Africa. In 2009 he took part in a BBC Radio 4 programme which brought together some of the key people involved in the Ethiopian famine including International Red Cross nurse Claire Bertschinger (now Dame Claire); BBC reporter Michael Buerk; Dawit Wolde Giorgis, former head of the Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission; and Hugh Goyder, former head of Oxfam's Ethiopia programme.
After retirement, Brian Barder served on the Commonwealth Observer Mission, Namibian elections (1994); and as a Chair of Civil Service Selection Boards (1995–96). He was a Know-How Fund Consultant for diplomatic training in East and Central Europe (1996); a member of the Committee of the Speech and Debate Centre of the English-Speaking Union (1996–2009); a member of the Board of Management of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (1996–2003); a founder member of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (1997–2004); and Honorary Visiting Fellow to the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester (2006- ).
Resignation from the Special Immigration Appeals Commission
Brian Barder was appointed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in November 1997, three years after his retirement from the diplomatic service. He resigned in January 2004 when the Government extended the role of SIAC in a way which he believed to be contrary to Britain's international obligations. He set out the reasons for his resignation in the London Review of Books and in The Guardian. The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001 made SIAC additionally responsible for hearing appeals by persons indefinitely detained without trial by the Home Secretary on suspicion of being connected with terrorism but who could not be deported because there was no country to which they could safely be sent. Barder took the view, subsequently endorsed by the Law Lords, that sending people to prison indefinitely and without trial and without even being charged with any offence was a breach of Britain’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. On 16 December 2004 the Law Lords ruled that Part 4 was indeed incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, but under the terms of the Human Rights Act 1998 it remained in force. It has since been replaced by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.
Blogging and publications
Since retiring from the Diplomatic Service, Brian Barder wrote a popular blog and was a regular contributor to the LabourList website. He had articles and letters published in The Political Quarterly, London Review of Books, Prospect, The Times, The Guardian, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, and elsewhere. He was Editorial Consultant for A Dictionary of Diplomacy and contributed to the Third Edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage.
Brian Barder's book, What Diplomats Do: The Life and Work of Diplomats was published in July 2014. Not a diplomatic memoir, it describes a diplomat's day-to-day life and work through a typical but fictitious diplomatic career. It has been described as "massively authoritative, and original ... a brilliant book" (G R Berridge, Emeritus Prof., Leicester University); "excellent ... I found reading its chapters irresistible, like eating peanuts" (Prof. Alan Henrikson, Tufts University).
- Sir Brian Barder
- "BARDER, Sir Brian (Leon)". Who's Who 2010. A & C Black. December 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Jansson, Kurt; Harris, Penrose (1990). The Ethiopian Famine (2nd ed.). London: Zed Books. ISBN 0-86232-834-9.— History of Ethiopian famine of 1984-85.
- Gill, Peter (1986). A Year in the Death of Africa (1st ed.). London: Paladin/Grafton Books. ISBN 0-586-08537-8.— History of Ethiopian famine of 1984-85.
- "The Reunion". BBC. London. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "Events Listing". University of Leicester Department of Politics and International Relations. University of Leicester. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "On SIAC". London Review of Books. London. 18 March 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "National insecurity". The Guardian. London. 16 March 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "Ephems of BLB". Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Barder, Brian (2001). "Britain: Still Looking for that Role?". Political Quarterly. 72 (3): 366–374. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.00396.
- "Rieff on Ethiopia". 3 July 2005. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Barder, Brian (2010). "Diplomacy, Ethics and the National Interest: What Are Diplomats For?". The Hague Journal of Diplomacy. 5 (3): 289–297. doi:10.1163/187119110X511653.
- Berridge, Geoffrey (2003). A Dictionary of Diplomacy. Alan James (Revised 2nd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-1536-8.
- Burchfield, Robert William (2004). Fowler's Modern English Usage (Revised 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-861021-2. OCLC 56767410.
- Barder, Brian (2014). What Diplomats Do. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-2635-7.
- "What Diplomats Do". Publisher website. Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved 2014-08-30.