Nicola Brewer

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Person.png Nicola Brewer   TwitterRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Nicola Brewer.jpg
BornNicola Mary Brewer
Alma materUniversity of Leeds
SpouseGeoffrey Gillham
Member ofTrilateral Commission
InterestsTrilateral Commission
British diplomat and university administrator


In office
1983 - Present
EmployerHM Diplomatic Service

Employment.png CEO link= executive officer

In office
March 2007 - May 2009

Dame Nicola Brewer is a British diplomat and university administrator. In May 2014 she was appointed Vice-Provost (International) at University College London. Nicola Brewer is a non-executive director of Aggreko and Scottish Power. In March 2007 Nicola Brewer was seconded to the newly-formed EHRC as its first CEO and returned to the FCO two years later when she was appointed British High Commissioner to South Africa from 2009 to 2013.[1]

HM Diplomatic Service

Nicola Brewer joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1983, completing overseas postings in South Africa, India, France and Mexico. She was the FCO's Director for Global Issues from 2001 to 2002, and then as Director-General for Regional Programmes at the Department for International Development (DfID), the DfID board member supervising the UK's overseas bilateral aid programmes.[2]

In 2004, she was appointed Director-General for Europe at the FCO, leading the FCO's contribution to the UK's 2005 Presidency of the European Union, advising the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for Europe on European Union and other European policy issues.


In December 2006, Brewer was appointed by open competition as the first Chief Executive of the newly established Equality and Human Rights Commission, the successor body to the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission. She took up her new position in March 2007, standing down in May 2009 to succeed Paul Boateng as British High Commissioner to South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho, completing her mission in September 2013. On her return to the UK, she became the Founding Director of the FCO Diplomatic Academy.


Nicola Brewer was educated at the Belfast Royal Academy, and read English at the University of Leeds, graduating with a BA in 1980, then taking a Doctorate in linguistics in 1988 there. Leeds granted her an Honorary Doctorate of Laws in 2009. She was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2003 New Year Honours[3] and Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (DCMG) in the 2011 Birthday Honours.[4] She is married to former diplomat Geoffrey Gillham, they have two children.

Her father, Trevor Brewer, played international rugby for Wales in the 1950s.[5]

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