John Sawers

John Sawers

Sir (Robert) John Sawers , KCMG (born July 26 1955) is a British diplomat. He is the current British Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) since August 2007. In that position, he has strongly supported the independence of Kosovo.


Born in Warwick, Sawers was educated at the City of Bath Boys' School, then studied Physics and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, and spent periods at the Universities of St Andrews, Witwatersrand and Harvard. His interests include theatre, hiking and sport, especially tennis and cycling. His wife Shelley is a teacher. They have three grown-up children.


Sir John was previously Political Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a post he held since August 2003. In this post he advised the Foreign Secretary on political and security issues worldwide, and negotiated on behalf of the Foreign Secretary with international partners in the G8, EU and the UN. He was particularly closely involved in policy on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. Prior to this job he served two years in the Middle East, as Ambassador to Cairo 2001-03, and, for three months he was the British Government’s Special Representative in Baghdad. From January 1999 – Summer 2001, he was Foreign Affairs Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, dealing with all aspects of Foreign and Defence Policy, and working closely with international counterparts. The period included the Kosovo conflict. He also worked on Northern Ireland and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. From 1995 – 1998, he was in the United States. He spent a year as an International Fellow at Harvard University and then joined the British Embassy in Washington where he headed the Embassy team dealing with foreign and defence policy issues. This came immediately after being Principal Private Secretary to Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, a post he held for two and a half years. The period was dominated by war in Bosnia, crises in the Middle East, and the debate in Britain on the European Union. In his early career, Sir John worked in Yemen and Syria, and was in South Africa from 1988-91 during the first part of the transition from apartheid. Between spells overseas, he worked in London, mainly on EU business.

External links

Offices held

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