Melinda Simmons

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Melinda Simmons
British Ambassador to Ukraine
In office
MonarchsElizabeth II
Charles III
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Liz Truss
Rishi Sunak
Preceded byJudith Gough
Succeeded byMartin Harris
Personal details
Melinda Veronica Simmons

London, United Kingdom
Nationality United Kingdom
SpouseStephen Bevan
Alma materUniversity of Exeter (BA)
University of North London (MA)

Dame Melinda Veronica Simmons DCMG (born 1966) is a British diplomat who served as the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ukraine from 2019 to 2023.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Simmons, who is of Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian heritage, was born to Jewish parents in the East End of London.[3] She was educated at the City of London School for Girls, before reading Modern Languages (French and German) at the University of Exeter, where she graduated as BA (Hons) in 1988. She then pursued further studies in European Politics at the University of North London, receiving a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 1995. Dame Melinda is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.[citation needed]


HE Melinda Simmons in 2019 with President Volodymyr Zelensky

From 1990 to 1992, Simmons was Head of International Department/Associate Director at the Register Group (International marketing and advertising research). She then became International Marketing Manager at Primesight International (outdoor advertising) from 1992 to 1994. From 1994 to 1998, she was Public Affairs Officer at International Alert (conflict resolution NGO) and from 1998 onwards she held roles at the Department for International Development (DfID).[citation needed]

From 1998 to 2003, Simmons held various positions including working with businesses to develop an ethical trademark; managing land restitution in the former Soviet Union; developing global policy on conflict prevention and resolution and setting up the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP), bringing together the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Ministry of Defence (MoD) and DfID to collaborate on conflict prevention/resolution programmes in South Asia and the Middle East, becoming Head of the Africa Team, 2500 Unit (2003–05).[citation needed]

From 2005 to 2008, Simmons was head of DfID's Southern Africa office in Pretoria.[4] She then became Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa (2008–09); Deputy Director, Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (2010–11), then Head of the Europe Department (2011–13).[5]

From 2013 to 2016, Simmons worked at the FCO as Deputy Director of the Conflict Department.[6] She was the Head of the National Security Secretariat (Joint Programme Hub) from 2016 to 2017 and National Security Secretariat Director (Joint Funds Unit) from 2017 to 2018.[citation needed]

After undertaking full-time language training (in Ukrainian) with the FCO from 2018,[7] in 2019, Simmons was appointed British Ambassador to Kyiv, Ukraine.[8]

She departed Kyiv on 19 February 2022 and finally left Ukraine, under advice, on 7 March 2022 following the Russian invasion,[9] returning to her office at the British Embassy in Kyiv at the end of April 2022.


Simmons was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (DCMG) in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to British foreign policy.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Simmons is Jewish and is a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue in London.[10]


  1. ^ Frazer, Jenni (1 May 2019). "Meet Britain's new Jewish envoy to Ukraine: 'I feel I can play a positive role'". Jewish News. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  2. ^ a b "No. 63918". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2022. p. N3.
  3. ^ Wintour, Patrick (15 February 2022). "UK ambassador to Ukraine praised for staying put amid fears of invasion". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  4. ^ Why peace is everybody’s business: Melinda's story, Accessed 31 December 2022.
  5. ^ Board of Directors, Accessed 31 December 2022.
  6. ^ Melinda Simmons profile, Accessed 31 December 2022.
  7. ^ Change of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Ukraine - Summer 2019
  8. ^ Melinda Simmons Ambassador Designate to Ukraine at Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Accessed 31 December 2022.
  9. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (7 March 2022). "UK Ambassador departs Ukraine". The Independent. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  10. ^ "Wishing You Chag Pesach kasher v'sameach". Movement for Reform Judaism. 4 April 2023. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by British Ambassador to Ukraine
Succeeded by
Martin Harris