Brian Barder

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Person.png Sir Brian Barder   Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Diplomat, activist)
Brian Barder.jpeg
BornBrian Leon Barder
20 June 1934
Bristol, United Kingdom
Died19 September 2017 (Age 83)
Trinity Hospice, London
Alma materSherborne School, St Catharine's College (Cambridge)
Children • Virginia
• Louise
• Owen
SpouseJane Maureen Cornwell
Interestshuman rights
British diplomat, author, blogger and civil liberties advocate

Sir Brian Barder KCMG 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 2011Barack Obama
Malcolm Rifkind
Pan Am Flight 103
2011 Attacks on Libya
Muammar Gaddafi
David Cameron
UTA Flight 772
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
Ben Emmerson
La Belle discotheque bombing
Jason Pack
1986 United States bombing of Libya
Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump
Bernie Sanders
Nicolas Sarkozy
Shukri Ghanem
Baghdadi Mahmudi
Iman al-Obeidi
Frank Lautenberg
David Cameron seemingly Gung Ho on toppling the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, while Barack Obama takes a back seat
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  1. Brian Barder's website and Ephems blog"
  2. Jansson, Kurt; Harris, Penrose (1990). The Ethiopian Famine (2nd ed.). London: Zed Books.
  3. {Gill, Peter (1986). A Year in the Death of Africa (1st ed.). London: Paladin/Grafton Books. ISBN 0-586-08537-8
  9. Berridge, Geoffrey (2003). A Dictionary of Diplomacy. Alan James (Revised 2nd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-1536-8.
  10. Burchfield, Robert William (2004). Fowler's Modern English Usage (Revised 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-861021-2. OCLC 56767410.
  11. Barder, Brian (2014). What Diplomats Do. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-2635-7