Beyond Britannia: Reshaping UK Foreign Policy

26. März 2024 18:00

Lord Simon McDonald, Baron of Salford

An argument for a new approach to foreign policy in the United Kingdom.

What should the future of British foreign policy look like? For too long, successive governments have shied away from acknowledging uncomfortable truths about the decline of Britain’s military capabilities. As we approach the middle years of the twenty-first century, a new set of urgent and daunting challenges lie ahead, including climate change, technological development, the rise of AI, and a growing threat from China. The need for us to reconcile ourselves with our position in the world has never been more acute. In Beyond Britannia: Reshaping UK Foreign Policy, Simon McDonald persuasively argues that the United Kingdom’s significant soft-power strengths can be harnessed to expand its international influence. Such a shift will only be possible, he says, if we first acknowledge the challenges of Brexit and the need to reduce our unrealistic hard-power ambitions. Excellence in areas that other countries care about will keep the United Kingdom internationally relevant in the second half of the century in a way that nostalgia for a lost pre-eminence will not.

The event will be chaired by Rupert Graf Strachwitz, Vice Chairman, Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft.

Please join the event by using this link: (No prior registration required!)

Simon McDonald was born and educated in Salford, and read History at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he is now an Honorary Fellow. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1982 and, early in his career, served in Jeddah, Riyadh, Bonn and Washington, D.C. He was British Ambassador to Israel (2003-2006) and to Germany (2010-15). In September 2015 Simon became Permanent Under-Secretary at the FCO and Head of the Diplomatic Service. After leaving the FCO in Autumn 2020, he was appointed a life peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords as a crossbencher in February 2021. Simon is a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) and Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO). Simon became the 39th Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, on 1 September 2022.