Cultural Dissonance – War Criminals Vs Tree Huggers

9th June 2016Department for International Development –Whitehall, London, SW1A 2EG

Lieutenant General Robert Fry

Our two speakers joined the marines on the same day in 1973 and have over 50 years of distinguished service between them.

Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fry KCB CBE was involved in military operations in Northern Ireland, the Gulf, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was appointed Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments) in July 2003, advising successive Prime Ministers on the conduct of operations in response to the 9/11 attacks. In March 2006, Sir Robert was deployed as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General of the Multinational Force in Iraq. He has worked in the defence sector as an advisor to international companies such as Hewlett Packard, but his main business interests lie in communications and finance.

A talented essayist and columnist who writes regularly for Prospect Magazine, Sir Robert is a visiting professor at King’s College, London and a visiting fellow at Oxford University.

Simon Haselock is a pioneer in media intervention in countries emerging from violent conflict. Following the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in late 1995 and throughout 1996 he was the NATO Spokesman in Sarajevo. He stayed on in Bosnia from 1997 until early 2000 as Deputy High Representative for Media Affairs in the Office of The High Representative responsible for the public presentation of policy and media reform.

As Temporary Media Commissioner in Kosovo in 2000, Simon began the process of building the professional, legal and ethical structures necessary for the independent media to flourish there. He then served as the Director of Public Information for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) from 2001 to spring 2003 when he went on to head the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Media Development and Regulatory Advisory Team in Iraq. He has directed projects in Kosovo, Darfur, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Somalia and is an Associate of the Program for Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCLMP) at Oxford University

Sir Robert discussed the role of the military in developmentand provided some insights into the realities of military diplomacy. He stressed the importance of both “soft” and “hard” power, noting that the UK makes effective use of diplomacy in conjunction with less traditional mechanisms such as non-governmental organisations, and usually partners with other countries when it comes to boots on the ground. He left us in no doubt that he supported the Remain campaign.

Simon Haselock gave an overview of the importance of communication in times of conflict, and warned us of the need to exercise “media intelligence” in interpreting news stories.

Their presentations stimulated a lively question and answer session and the seminar was declared to have been “excellent” “very articulate” and “thought-provoking“mixed with humour”, and the speakers ”highly intelligent and knowledgeable”.

This was the ninth of the special Alumni Seminars arranged by the British Chapter of the Association of World Bank Group Alumni (the 1818 Society), and the third in partnership with DFID.

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