Brian Barder

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Person.png Sir Brian Barder   Twitter WebsiteRdf-icon.png
Brian Barder.jpeg
Born Brian Leon Barder
20 June 1934
Bristol, United Kingdom
Died 19 September 2017 (Age 83)
citation needed, Trinity Hospice, London
Nationality British
Alma mater St Catharine's College (Cambridge)
Children • Virginia
• Louise
• Owen
Spouse Jane Maureen Cornwell

Sir Brian Barder KCMG (born 20 June 1934 - died 19 September 2017) was a retired British diplomat; and subsequently author, blogger and civil liberties advocate.[1]

Ethiopian famine

Barder was British Ambassador to Ethiopia during the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85. He played a key role in making possible the deployment of the Royal Air Force to Ethiopia for 14 months to move relief supplies from the ports to remote parts of the country where it was urgently needed. His role in the relief effort is described in The Ethiopian Famine,[2] and A Year In The Death of Africa.[3] In 2009 he took part in "The Reunion" Sue MacGregor's BBC Radio 4 programme which brought together some of the key people involved in the Ethiopian famine including International Red Cross nurse Claire Bertschinger (now Dame Claire); BBC reporter Michael Buerk; Dawit Wolde Giorgis, former head of the Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission; and Hugh Goyder, former head of Oxfam's Ethiopia programme.[4]

Post retirement

After retiring from HM Diplomatic Service, Sir Brian Barder wrote a popular blog[5] and was a regular contributor to the Blairite LabourList website. He had articles and letters published in The Political Quarterly,[6] London Review of Books, Prospect Magazine,[7] The Times, The Guardian, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy,[8] and elsewhere. He was Editorial Consultant for A Dictionary of Diplomacy[9] and contributed to the Third Edition of "Fowler's Modern English Usage".[10]

Barder's book, "What Diplomats Do: The Life and Work of Diplomats"[11] was published in July 2014. Not a diplomatic memoir, it describes a diplomat's day-to-day life and work through a typical but fictitious diplomatic career. It has been described as "massively authoritative, and original ... a brilliant book" (G R Berridge, Emeritus Prof., Leicester University); "excellent ... I found reading its chapters irresistible, like eating peanuts" (Prof. Alan Henrikson, Tufts University).[12]

Barder on Lockerbie

A selection of Barder's writings on the Lockerbie bombing:


A Document by Brian Barder

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:Libya: Fine, but why Britainarticle20 March 20112011 Attacks on Libya
David Cameron
Malcolm Rifkind
Muammar Gaddafi
Barack Obama
Shukri Ghanem
Hillary Clinton
Bernie Sanders
Donald Trump
Baghdadi Mahmudi
Ben Emmerson
Iman al-Obeidi
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
Pan Am Flight 103
La Belle discotheque bombing
UTA Flight 772
1986 United States bombing of Libya
Jason Pack
Frank Lautenberg
Nicolas Sarkozy
David Cameron seemingly Gung Ho on toppling the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, while Barack Obama takes a back seat


  1. Brian Barder's website and Ephems blog"
  2. Jansson, Kurt; Harris, Penrose (1990). The Ethiopian Famine (2nd ed.). London: Zed Books. ISBN 0-86232-834-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>— History of Ethiopian famine of 1984-85.
  3. Gill, Peter (1986). A Year in the Death of Africa (1st ed.). London: Paladin/Grafton Books. ISBN 0-586-08537-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>— History of Ethiopian famine of 1984-85.
  4. "The Reunion". BBC. London. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Ephems of BLB". Retrieved 2010-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  7. "Rieff on Ethiopia". 3 July 2005. Retrieved 2010-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  9. Berridge, Geoffrey (2003). A Dictionary of Diplomacy. Alan James (Revised 2nd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-1536-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  11. Barder, Brian (2014). What Diplomats Do. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-2635-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "What Diplomats Do". Publisher website. Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved 2014-08-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>