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In this strangest of years, international cooperation has taken on a different aspect. Border closures, quarantine and testing regimes have never before been part of my daily diplomatic vocabulary. Though as a well travelled diplomat vaccination has long played a small but important part in my professional life. The world faces a common challenge t…
 
This is the first blogcast I have recorded for several weeks. This is mainly because I had to travel to the UK for family reasons - a journey that was a story in itself. But there is another reason too. I have been spending my evenings doing an online training course.Diplomacy is a career of life-long learning, whether that is languages, local hist…
 
The global skies have been pretty dark metaphorically over past months. They have been pretty gloomy too here literally for much of the time.I’m lucky enough to look out of my window in Belgrade at trees and sky. Sadly though that view is often rather murky, with visibility limited to the great oak trees at the end of my garden.One glimpse of a sil…
 
This has been a solemn week in what has been a desperately sad month in a desperately sad year.On 11 November the UK like many other countries commemorates Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, which originally marked the guns falling silent at the end of the First World War. Every country has its own way of commemorating past conflict. For us 11 Nove…
 
Diplomacy is never a 9-5 job and, however much we like to plan, it is rarely possible to predict exactly how your time will be spent in any given week.The coronavirus pandemic has added to the unpredictability. One thing is certain though: my week will involve drinking a lot of tea.BLOG: https://blogs.fcdo.gov.uk/sianmacleod/2020/11/06/tea-with-eve…
 
Diplomats move house more than most people. We move between countries every two, three or four years. We move backwards and forwards to and from our own countries. Even within our home countries jobs in our foreign ministries may be spread across more than one city.BLOG: https://blogs.fcdo.gov.uk/sianmacleod/2020/10/30/a-house-in-dedinje/…
 
This week stories about negotiations have been prominent in the media both in the UK and in Serbia. The history of diplomacy might also be called the history of negotiation. Negotiating is a way of life for diplomats. Whether you are working on a major arms control treaty, opening a new diplomatic mission or drafting a statement to be delivered on …
 
I arrived in Belgrade just over a year ago. But for over half of that time lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. For any newly arrived diplomat, that means that many of those first twelve months when you would be out and about starting to get to know your host country have been spent at home, probably learning how to use o…
 
When I walk up the stairs to my office in the Embassy I pass a series of painted portraits and photographs of former heads of the UK’s diplomatic mission in Belgrade. Over the years our diplomatic mission has had different names and a different status. It has been a Legation, a Consulate General and, as now, a British Embassy. We are of now the UK …
 
Grey and windy in London; wet in Vienna; sunny in Skopje; ‘improbably sunny’ in Dublin; sultry in Lisbon… Online meetings of British Ambassadors often start with friendly chat that sounds a bit like a global weather forecast. After all, talking about the weather is something that British people are famous for. British diplomats are no exception.…
 
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