Department of Political Science


Wartime Diplomacy: Perspectives from a British Ambassador to Ukraine

11 January 2024, 6:15 pm–7:30 pm

Melinda Simmons looks towards the left and someone in army uniform stand in the background

In conversation with Dame Melinda Simmons. Part of the UCL Policy & Practice seminar series.

This event is free.

Event Information

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Eleanor Kingwell-Banham


UCL Engineering
Malet Place
United Kingdom

Image source: https://www.president.gov.ua/photos/robocha-poyizdka-prezidenta-ukrayini-na-odeshinu-4841

As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its third year, what are the prospects for peace? What role has the UK played in the conflict, and how is that role likely to evolve? Join us for this opening special event in the spring term Policy & Practice series of the UCL Department of Political Science, co-hosted with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), in which Dame Melinda Simmons, Britain’s Ambassador to Ukraine from September 2019 to August 2023, will be in conversation with distinguished British–American journalist Amie Ferris-Rotman. As well as discussing the dynamics of the war, this event will delve into the experience of diplomacy itself. What role do diplomats play in wartime? How do they exert influence? And what capabilities does the UK need to remain influential in the region?

Dame Melinda Simmons DCMG was His Majesty’s Ambassador to Ukraine until August 2023. Her distinguished career in the British foreign service has also included positions in the Department for International Development, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and the National Security Secretariat. She is also an Honorary Professor at SSEES.

Amie Ferris-Rotman is global news editor at the Washington-based New Lines Magazine, where she oversees coverage of the war in Ukraine. She has also reported on Russia's invasion for TIME magazine. This followed almost a decade reporting in Russia and the former Soviet space, most recently as Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post. She is the founder of Sahar Speaks, a program offering training and publishing opportunities for Afghan female journalists, which won her the British Press Award for Innovation in 2016. She is a SSEES alumna, holding a bachelor (2003) and Masters degree in Russian Studies (2004).

The talk will be followed by a drinks reception, which we would love for all to attend. Read Dame Melinda Simmons' interview in The Guardian.


UCL S S E E S logo
UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies

This event is co-oranised with UCL SSEES - one of the UK's largest institutions for research and teaching on Russia, the Baltics, and Central, Eastern and South-East Europe.


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This event will be recorded and the video will be uploaded to our YouTube channel.

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There is step free access into the lecture theatre(s).
There are designated spaces for wheelchair users within the lecture theatre(s).
There is level access to the designated seating from an entrance.
There is space for an assistance dog.
There is a hearing assistance system for the lecture theatre(s).
There is not a visual fire alarm beacon in the lecture theatre(s).
More info can be found here.


Other events in this series