Valerie studied at the University of Bristol (BA in French with German, PhD in French) and at the University of Reading ( MA in Contemporary European Studies). She taught in the French Department of the University of Exeter from 1978-1980, before joining the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Fast Stream in 1980.

Her diplomatic career included postings to Brussels ( First Secretary,EU Affairs), Paris (First Secretary, Political, then later Counsellor, Financial and Economic), Stockholm (Deputy Head of Mission and Consul-General) and as British Ambassador to Finland (2006 – 10). After returning from Finland she undertook an assignment from the Prime Minister’s Office to organise in 2011 the first ever UK Nordic Baltic Summit ( later known as the Northern Future Forum), where nine Prime Ministers explored the latest economic, social and technological innovations with businesses, policy experts and NGOs from across the region.

After retiring she became a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford ( 2012-13) whilst writing a book, “ France and the Politics of European Economic and Monetary Union”, published in 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan. She also served (2013 – 2022) as a Director and Trustee of CAMFED International, a UK-based NGO dedicated to the eradication of poverty in Africa through the education of girls and the empowerment of women as leaders of change.

Valerie is currently a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading, where she co-teaches an MA course in Diplomacy.

Valerie enjoys theatre, walking, and travel in Europe and Africa, especially exploring islands.

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