In Conversation With: the Rt Hon Gisela Stuart and Sir Simon Fraser

This event from the UK think tank the British Foreign Policy Group will host Sir Simon Fraser and Rt. Hon. Gisela Stuart to discuss and debate the future state of our foreign policy.

Britain stands at a crucial juncture in its foreign policy. Three-and-a-half years on from the seismic 2016 referendum on our membership of the European Union, we are still yet to see any kind of cohesive government strategy about our role in the world. Meanwhile, the two major parties have never felt more polarised on many aspects of our international engagement, meaning the General Election on December 12 may prove generationally consequential.

At the heart of the questions around our foreign policy will be the decisions we take as a country about the structure, resources and culture we embed within our civil service, the nature of our diplomatic presence around the world, and how we approach our relationships with both partners and hostile states.

This event brings together Sir Simon Fraser and Rt. Hon. Gisela Stuart, two of the most experienced thinkers on these issues coming from distinctly unique perspectives, to discuss and debate the future state of our foreign policy. Both Sir Simon Fraser and the Rt Hon Gisela Stuart are honorary presidents of the British Foreign Policy Group.


Sir Simon Fraser GCMG: Sir Simon is a founder and managing director of Flint Global, a business advisory firm. He is also one of the founding trustees of the Patchwork Foundation, a newly established charity which works to promote and encourage the positive integration of under-represented, deprived and minority communities into British democracy and civil society. He is also Deputy Chairman of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In his public service career, Sir Simon was the Head of the UK Foreign Office and Diplomatic Service, and before that he led the UK Department for Business and held a succession of senior roles in the British Government and the European Commission. He was the UK Civil Service Champion for Inclusion and Diversity.

The Rt Hon Gisela Stuart: Gisela has a wealth of experience in politics, with a particular concern to ensure UK foreign policy reflects and protects the interests of citizens across the UK. Gisela is Chair of Change Britain, an organisation set up to make a success of Britain’s exit of the EU. During the European Referendum campaign in 2016 she was Chair of the Vote Leave campaign. Previously she was the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston from 1997 until she stood down in 2017. As an MP, amongst other things, she was on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Defence Select Committee, and Intelligence and Security Committee.

Sophia Gaston (chair): Sophia is Managing Director of the British Foreign Policy Group, a Research Fellow in the Institute for Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an Academic Fellow at the European Policy Centre in Brussels. Her work is especially focused on social and political change, populism, the media and democracy – with a focus on threats to governance in Western nations.

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