Primrose Lovett


You’ve worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for 5 years. How did you get the job?

I applied through the Civil Service Fast Stream.

What did you learn in your first year at the FCO that is still useful today?

That as diplomats and civil servants we should always abide by the values of honesty, integrity, objectivity and impartiality. The best leaders I've worked with since I joined also continually strive to learn more about themselves and others.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working for the FCO and serving your country?

The opportunity to live and work in another country, as well as learn a new language, is a great privilege.

How many languages do you speak? Did you learn any of these languages at University, or did you study them at a later time?

I speak Portuguese, which I learnt in six months, before coming to Brazil. Before then I spoke a little French and Spanish which I learnt at school and through travelling. As we often receive full-time language training before going on a posting not speaking a foreign language yet shouldn't be a barrier to new diplomats.

What did you study at University, and how has it helped you in your work as a Diplomat?

As an undergraduate, I studied Theology and Religious Studies. The course touched on many different religions and helped me realise that to negotiate or do business with a country you have to understand what makes it 'tick'.

What do you do as the 2nd Secretary of Economics & Trade at the FCO in Brazil?

My job is extremely varied. I organise UK-Brazil economic and trade dialogues, manage a team of economists who report back to the FCO, HM Treasury and the Bank of England on the Brazilian macroeconomic situation, run technical cooperation projects with the Brazilian government and support my colleagues in London on different lobbying requests.

Would you consider working as a British Diplomat in any other country?

Yes, definitely. In fact, my next move in 2017 will be to Luanda, Angola.

What advice would you give to a young woman who wants to become a diplomat?

Get out and see the world. Find out which region or issue you are passionate about and focus on that. There are so many fantastic opportunities in foreign policy other than being a diplomat - it's a great job but not the only one.

What skills do you think are most important for your work?

The ability to work with, and inspire, a diverse group of people is essential. Taking the time to listen to others always pays off too.

Do you have a role model? Who, and why?

So many of the women I work with are my role models - I've made fantastic friends and had wonderful mentors since joining the FCO.

Where is your favourite place to relax in Brasilia?

Brazilians do amazing meat BBQs called 'churrasco'. There's a fantastic place called Paulicieia in the Asa Sul that does amazing steak and caipirinhas (Brazilian lime and cachaca cocktails) in a relaxed environment. 

Primrose Lovett | Diplomat | Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Five years's experience

Studied Theology and Religious Studies at Cambridge University | LLM in International Human Rights Law atThe University of York | 

Find Primrose Online: LinkedIn 

Featured in York Graduates – The Next Generation

Exclusive Skype interview by Aisha Babalakin, March 2016