Former Senior British Diplomat joins IFC as Visiting Professor

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By Rhodri Williams

I have had a “tri-sector career” spanning academia, public service and the private sector. Having taught history at Oxford as a Tutorial Fellow of St Peters College and University Lecturer, I then spent two decades as a British diplomat, with postings in Europe and the Middle East, before joining AIG, the global insurance company, where I am now Head of International Public Policy.

This career path has given me wide-ranging experience and expertise – in international affairs, public policy, strategy and communications. Throughout, people, partnerships and collaboration have been key themes.

My career has also provided numerous lessons in the vital role of cities in history and their importance as political actors in the modern world. It will be fascinating to see how, as urbanisation intensifies around the world, the role of cities in international and national politics evolves.

My connection with the Institute for Future Cities dates from 2021, when I was able to facilitate its involvement in the annual “Bridge for Cities” conference at UNIDO in Vienna, a major gathering of global cities. I also worked with Professor Richard Bellingham and the team on a related event during COP 26.

So I was delighted to be invited to become a Visiting Professor and welcome the opportunity to be associated with the innovative work which the IFC is doing on the evolution of cities worldwide, their challenges and opportunities. Being a former academic, it is a nostalgic pleasure for me to be back in the university world at Strathclyde!

In my new role, I look forward to helping build the international dimension of the IFC’s work, for example by exploring new partner cities and identifying collaborative opportunities.