Wilton Park – distinguished contribution to diplomacy
19 May, 2011
Richard Burge, Chief Executive, writes:
So we are now really "the award- winning Wilton Park"! I am terribly tempted to put that in front of our name – everywhere. Last night I attended the annual "Diplomat" Magazine awards in London. It was full of the leading lights of foreign missions in the UK. My individual conversations were of three types: "my last visit to Wilton Park was so useful (even if it was 10 years ago)"; "I have an issue which my government thinks could well benefit from a quiet dialogue"; and "why have I never been invited!". But when I am with people from overseas for whom the grit in international affairs is their daily work – from diplomatic spat to prolonged conflicts – I never have to explain what Wilton Park is, and even less do I have to justify its existence.
The editor of the Diplomat magazine in his presentation of the award delivered a brilliant description of "why Wilton Park" and I hope to publish it soon. As I gave well -deserved thanks to staff past and present, and to the FCO who have been responsible for us for 60 years, I became aware that, for the majority of the diplomats in the room, this was not an award to someone else, it was an award to their institution, their Wilton Park."