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Dame Menna Rawlings discusses life as an Ambassador as part of Distinguished Speaker series


Written by
Mark Piggott

Dame Menna Rawlings, the first female British Ambassador to France, spoke eloquently about diplomacy, international relations and returning to her alma mater (LSE) to a packed audience at The Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House on Wednesday 13 March. 

Dame Rawlings was speaking as part of our Distinguished Speaker series to mark the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale in 1904. As evidenced by ULIP, the University of London has an even longer history of supporting French and British academic collaboration. 

Dame Rawlings Professor Thomson
Dame Menna addressed a packed audience in the Chancellor's Hall

The discussion, hosted by Professor Wendy Thomson, CBE, Vice-Chancellor of University of London, covered a range of subjects. These included international challenges and opportunities, the realities of life on the frontline of global diplomacy, and the complexities of international relations in an increasingly complex world. 

Dame Rawlings also shared her analysis of Franco-British relations, explored the impact of upcoming elections in Europe and the US on policy and trade, and highlighted the crucial role of higher education and research.

During a Q&A with the audience Dame Rawlings was asked what advice she would give to a young woman thinking of pursuing a career in the service. As well as studying languages and international relations she recalled advice she had once been given, saying: “Know yourself, be yourself, back yourself.”