Valerie studied at the Universities of Bristol (BA in French with German; Phd in French, including a year studying and teaching at the Sorbonne in Paris) and Reading (MA in Contemporary European Studies). Following a 2 year teaching post in the French Department of the University of Exeter, Valerie joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1980. Her 30 year diplomatic career includes setting up and heading (2004-6) the FCO’s ‘ Climate Change and Energy Group’ to lead the UK’s international climate diplomacy during its 2005 G8 and EU Presidencies.
She served overseas in Brussels (UKRep), Paris (First Secretary, Political, then Counsellor, Financial and Economic), Stockholm (Consul-General and Deputy Head of Mission), and finally as British Ambassador to Finland (2006-10).
Returning from Finland she organised in 2011 the first annual UK Nordic Baltic Summit (later known as the ‘ Northern Futures Forum’), where nine Prime Ministers explored the latest economic, social and technological innovations with businesses, policy experts and NGOs.
After retiring from the FCO, as a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford (2001-2; 2012-13), Valerie wrote a book on France’s role in the creation of the euro: ‘France and the Politics of European Economic and Monetary Union’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Alongside her training work in diplomatic skills for the CPDS, Valerie is currently a Visiting Fellow of the University of Reading, where she co-teaches an MA module on Diplomacy.
Since 2012 she has also been a Director and Trustee of CAMFED International, an NGO dedicated to the eradication of poverty in Africa through the education of girls and the empowerment of women as leaders of change.
In her spare time Valerie enjoys walking, riding, travelling and theatre.