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Laurie Bristow ‘in conversation’ with Dame Melinda Simmons DCMG

Tuesday 24 October, 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm, Pavilion Room

Laurie Bristow will be ‘in conversation’ with Dame Melinda Simmons, discussing her experiences as Ambassador to Ukraine (to August 2023).

All are welcome to attend this special event, including non college members.

So that we know how many to expect, please sign up to reserve a place. click here

Melinda Simmons DCMG

Melinda Simmons was His Majesty’s Ambassador to Ukraine until August 2023. She was first appointed to this role in September 2019. She began her career in international sales and moved from there to work for an NGO specialising in conflict prevention and resolution in war torn countries. She progressed to the Civil Service and worked for the Department for International Development in several policy roles, including a tour overseas in South Africa as well as heading up the Middle East and the Europe Departments. She also worked for the National Security Secretariat at the Cabinet Office, setting up and running a cross government fund focused on prevention and resolution of violent conflict, before transferring to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Before taking up the role in Kyiv Melinda was head of Conflict Department, and among her work there campaigned for justice for crimes of sexual violence against women and girls in war torn countries. She also specialised in United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Dame Melinda has a Bachelors degree in Modern Languages (from Exeter University), and a Masters Degree in European Politics. She speaks French, German and Ukrainian, and as part of a lifelong passion for foreign languages, has previously studied modern Hebrew, Spanish, Dutch and Russian. She is an associate member of the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development. Melinda is currently an Honorary Professor at the School of Slavonic and Eastern Europe Studies at UCL.

Sir Laurie Bristow KCMG

Laurie Bristow was appointed President of Hughes Hall, Cambridge in 2022. Prior to this, he was a British diplomat for 32 years.  His roles included Ambassador to Afghanistan during the fall of the Republic to the Taliban in 2021,  the UK’s Ambassador to Russia from 2016 to 2020, and Deputy Ambassador to Russia from 2007 to 2010.  He was Ambassador to Azerbaijan from 2004 to 2007.  Sir Laurie regularly writes and comments on Russia and national and international security issues. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, a Senior Associate Fellow of the European Leadership Network and Visiting Professor at LSE Ideas.