Simona Spinaru

Simona Spinaru

COUNSELLOR, POLITICAL SECTION OF THE EMBASSY OF ROMANIA IN LONDON

You’re a counsellor at the Romanian Embassy in London. What does it entail?

I’ve been working as counsellor at the Political Section of the Romanian Embassy in London since summer 2009, but now I am about to end my posting here, after five splendid years. The London posting is what we call a bilateral diplomacy posting, and it is in the hands of the diplomats from the Political Section of an Embassy to carry on with the relationship between the two countries, trying to enrich it. My portfolio is quite mixed, including both internal and foreign affairs, political and technical. 

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Kate Thornley

Kate Thornley

SECOND SECRETARY - POLITICAL | FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

What do you do at the Foreign Office (FCO)?

I am Second Secretary, Foreign Policy at the British Embassy in Brasilia. The bulk of my job is analysing Brazil’s foreign policy and explaining British foreign policy to Brazilians. I look at both of our perspectives on world issues. I also run dialogues between officials and ministers to make sure we’re discussing priority international issues at the right level.

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Branislava Perin

Branislava Perin

FIRST SECRETARY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA EMBASSY IN THE UK

What do you do as first secretary at the Republic of Serbia embassy?

As first secretary at the Embassy, I cover European Union affairs. It involves all EU policies in economy, finance, environment, social affairs, common foreign and security policy, enlargement, etc. with special emphasis on UK position towards all these specific topics. The last several months were very interesting and challenging in terms of analysing the British European Policy. I usually have contact with the representatives of the British institutions, and also with the representatives of British think tanks and NGOs in order to understand better UK’s expectations from the EU. The other aspect of my job is constantly keeping my counterparts informed of Serbia’s process of negotiation with the EU. Since I’m a people person, these activities are a happy combination of my interests.  

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Nicola Kelly

Nicola Kelly

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR

What do you do as an International Communications Advisor?

The primary focus of my role is consulting overseas teams on their communications outputs. I work in 44 countries around the world, developing communications plans, media engagement work, helping different teams to set up digital channels and providing advice remotely. I also visit those countries to provide communications training; next week I will be in Burkina Faso, then on to Senegal.

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Melinda Simmons

Melinda Simmons

HEAD OF THE CONFLICT DEPARTMENT | FCO

You’re currently Head of the Conflict Department at Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). What does it entail?

The Conflict Department manages some of the critical tools a government can use to prevent or resolve violent conflict. These include: oversight of UN peacekeeping and peace-building operations, and management of a cross-government fund for conflict, stability and security, which is over £1bn. We manage risk management and transparency mechanisms for businesses operating in fragile countries. Conflict Department also carries out campaigning work, including on the forced recruitment of child soldiers, and on preventing sexual violence in conflict.

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Danae Dholakia

Danae Dholakia

POLITICAL COUNSELLOR | BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION PRETORIA

You’re currently a Political Counsellor at the British High Commission in Pretoria. What does it entail?

As the Political Counsellor role in Pretoria, I work with my three teams to deliver in the following areas: UK/SA joint work on international foreign policy issues; bilateral engagement with South Africa, including on mutual priorities such as climate change, science and innovation and education; and our communications efforts – internally, externally in South Africa, regionally and globally.

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Thorda Abbott

Thorda Abbott

DEPUTY HEAD, PROJECTS TASK FORCE | FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

You have been Deputy Head of the Projects Task Force in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for the past two years. What does that entail?

I am one of three Deputy Heads. We each run a team of project officers of different grades and experience. We all deploy across the office to do urgent high priority work when individual FCO Departments do not have the resources to take it on. 

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Vivien Life

Vivien Life

BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO DENMARK

You have been Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark since 2012. What does it entail?

Leading the embassy in using the relationship with Denmark to pursue British interests. That means trying to convince the Danes to agree with us on key policy issues, to work alongside us, for example in Iraq or on Ebola, being able to explain Danish positions to colleagues in the UK who are themselves looking for support or partnership with Denmark, promoting British exports and investment into the UK and looking after British citizens needing assistance in Denmark.

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