On Tuesday 17 July, Sir Roderic Lyne delivered a talk to Year 12 and students from Parkstone Grammar. Sir Roderic worked for many years in the Diplomatic Service, mainly in the USSR/Russia and culminating in a period as UK Ambassador to Russia. He worked closely with a number of UK ministers, including Lord Carrington and John Major, and was a member of the Chilcott Inquiry. Sir Roderic came to us through ‘Speakers for Schools’.
Sir Roderic started with a discussion of the attractions of working overseas, with some excellent advice on ways of pursuing such a career. This was followed with his reflections on over 30 years of experience working for the British Government in its dealings with the USSR/Russia, and how things have changed (or not) following the collapse of the old Soviet Bloc. Coming the day after the first Trump-Putin summit, this provided much food for thought about the shape of on-going relations between Russia and the west.
Sir Roderic then moved on to consider a variety of British government policies with which he was involved, including early attempts to bring about peace in Northern Ireland, his membership of the Chilcott Inquiry, and his reflections on the 2016 Referendum on leaving the EU. Throughout, Sir Roderic answered our questions with clarity and good humour, and also gave us his views on leadership – basically, good leaders understand and care for the people who work for them, and act accordingly to get the best out of them.
Feedback received from students and staff was uniformly positive, and we felt we had a very clear insight into the way some of our current world leaders approach their roles. Often we see world events as remote from our lives, but this talk gave a very human perspective to the great game of diplomacy.