Alan was educated at Nottingham High School, Cambridge (MA, Modern Languages)), Manchester (BLing) and Leicester Universities (PGCE).

He worked in a bank in Munich for six months and later as a qualified teacher at the Gesamtschule Gelsenkirchen for two years. German is his strongest foreign language. He then joined HM Diplomatic Service.

In a career of 35 years, he worked in the Foreign Office in London in: West Africa Department; Near East and North Africa Department (Israel and Lebanon); Director of Eastern Adriatic Unit and UK Contact Group Representative (involved in diplomacy and negotiations on Bosnia, including the Dayton Peace Conference); Director South-East Europe; and HR Director.

Overseas, after learning Arabic, he was: Second, later First, Secretory British Embassy Amman (1981-1984); Deputy Political Adviser, British Military Government Berlin (1986-1990); Counsellor later Deputy Ambassador, British Embassy Bonn and then Berlin; Deputy Ambassador, British Embassy Washington (2004-2008); after learning Portuguese, British Ambassador to Brazil (2008-2013).

He was appointed Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1996 for services to diplomacy on Former Yugoslavia and Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 2008 for services to The Queen.

He has published two books – “Shaking My Briefcase; Diplomatic Stories” and “Nottingham Family Squire”. He is working on others.

He comments occasionally in the media on foreign affairs – TV and radio. He is a Trustee of Canning House, the leading UK organisation devoted to UK-Latin America understanding. He chairs the Advisory Council of the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London.

Alan lectures on cruise ships around the Americas and Europe on diplomacy and history, enjoying crafting the lectures and the interface with passengers.

He is delighted to be based permanently now in UK and spending time with his family including three grandchildren. He is researching family history (the novel “Nottingham Family Squire” was based on this); he has a family tree of 16,000 people. He enjoys watching cricket and football. He volunteers with the Samaritans.

Read Our News & Views View all

CPDS statement on the conflict in Ukraine

CPDS CPDS statement on the conflict in Ukraine

Helping governments prepare for upcoming negotiations

Andy Lebrecht Helping governments prepare for upcoming negotiations