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Last modified: Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sir Ivor Roberts, president of Trinity College at Oxford, to present annual Bonser Lecture at IU

Also served as Great Britain's ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland and Italy

March 18, 2010

Editors: Sir Ivor Roberts may be available to meet with the media next Thursday afternoon (March 25). Contact George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or for more information.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Sir Ivor Roberts, president of Trinity College at Oxford and Great Britain's former ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland and Italy, will visit Indiana University March 25-27 to present the 2010 Charles F. Bonser Distinguished Lecturer in Public Policy.

Sir Ivor Roberts

Sir Ivor Roberts

The Bonser lecture and discussion, "The Evolution of Modern Diplomacy: Implications for Business and Public Policy," will begin at 4 p.m. next Thursday (March 25) in room 1034 of the Godfrey Corporate and Graduate Center of the IU Kelley School of Business.

The Bonser Distinguished Lecture honors Charles F. Bonser, Dean Emeritus and Ameritech Professor Emeritus in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Bonser, a former associate dean in the School of Business, was founding dean of SPEA and headed the school for 17 years. The free lectures are designed to bring prominent and influential figures in academics, business and politics to speak on complex interactions between business and public policy.

Roberts also will present an informal talk, "Art and Science in the Practice of Diplomacy," directed to students interested in careers in diplomatic service, international relations and negotiations, at 4 p.m. next Friday (March 26) in room 1032 of the Godfrey Center, 1275 East Tenth St. The talk is open to the public.

He also will attend a program of the International Public Affairs Association, which also has invited Dr. Jamil Mahaud, former president of Ecuador, to campus. Roberts also will meet with IU and Kelley undergraduates going to Oxford, students in the Hutton Honors College and IU administrators.

During the Bonser lecture Roberts will discuss the origins of modern diplomacy before, during and in the wake of the Versailles conference, the failure of the League of Nations, the United Nations and the Cold War, and containment to détente. The discussion will consider multilateral diplomacy and summitry, modern diplomatic communications, track two diplomacy including the work of non-governmental organizations, paradiplomacy, secret (or back-channel) diplomacy, and business diplomacy.

The talk will demonstrate that the world of diplomacy has expanded with the substantial expansion in numbers of independent states in the last 20 years. The growth of international organizations and the need to staff them has also contributed to the growth in the world of diplomacy, as has the broadening of many embassies' remit to take in work in economic and trade spheres while traditional consular sections and consulates have had to deal with an exponential growth in world tourism and immigration.

Roberts is the editor of the first revised edition in 30 years of Satow's Diplomatic Practice (Oxford University Press, 2009), a classic guide to diplomacy.

Born in 1946 in Liverpool, Roberts was educated at St. Mary's College, Crosby and at Keble College, Oxford (where he was the Open Gomm Scholar). He graduated in Modern Languages in 1968 and took his master of arts degree in 1972.

Roberts entered Her Majesty's diplomatic service in 1968 as a third secretary in the West African Department. Over a career spanning four decades, he served in Lebanon, France, Luxembourg, Australia and Vanuatu. From 1989 to 1993, he was the minister in the British embassy in Spain. Over the next 13 years, he served as ambassador in Belgrade, Dublin and Rome.

He took a sabbatical as a senior associate member of St. Antony's College at Oxford from January 1998 to February 1999 to write and lecture on his experiences in Yugoslavia. He retired from the diplomatic service in September 2006 on his election as the president of Trinity College.

Roberts is an honorary fellow of Keble College, Oxford, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (FCIL), a patron of the Venice in Peril Fund and chairman of the council of the British School of Archaeology and Fine Art in Rome. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) in 2000.