Ivor Roberts (diplomat)
Sir Ivor Anthony Roberts KCMG FCIL (born 24 September 1946) is an Irish citizen and former British diplomat and the former President of Trinity College, Oxford. He was previously British Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland, and Italy. He was knighted in 2000.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Sir Ivor was the Chairman of the Council of the British School at Rome and a Patron of the Venice in Peril Fund. He is also a member of the Board of the King's College Group in Madrid and was a Member of the International Advisory Board of The Independent News and Media Group.
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.
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. The seventh centenary edition, also edited by Roberts, appeared in 2017.. His memoir of his years in the Balkans, Conversations with Milosevic, was published in 2016.
- Brexit fears prompt ex-British ambassador to become Irish citizen
- The Diplomatic Service List 1989 (page 287), HMSO; ISBN 0-11-591707-1
- The Diplomatic Service List 1989 (page 287), ibid.
- "Biography of Sir Ivor Roberts". Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- 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.
- "Leadership". Counter Extremism Project.
- Greenstock, Jeremy (28 October 2009). "The rules of the game". The Times. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
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- Website of the British Embassy in Rome
- New appointments and honours, Oxford Today: The University Magazine, 18:1 (Michaelmas 2005), p. 6
- Debrett's People of Today
|HM Ambassador to Italy
|UK Ambassador to Ireland
|HM Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
|President of Trinity College, Oxford
Dame Hilary Boulding