SOAS University of London

Ambassador Andrew Tesoriere

In the multi-national, cultural ambiance of SOAS, I whetted my appetite for international work and learnt there are many ways to view the same issue or problem.

Why did you choose SOAS as the place to study?

To study Persian, prior to a Foreign Office posting as a latterday Oriental Secretary in Afghanistan

What do you do now and what practical skills did you gain from SOAS to prepare you for this?

As an Ambassador, I head an EU Border Assistance Mission (to Ukraine and Moldova), having retired from the UK Foreign Office in December 2014. In the multi-national, cultural ambiance of SOAS, I whetted my appetite for international work and learnt there are many ways to view the same issue or problem. Understanding other people's viewpoints was the main take-away!

What would be a seminal moment, event, achievement, academic or person during your time at the School?

Without question, the indomitable Professor Ann (Nancy) Lambton, the doyenne of Persian. "May her shadow not grow less" as the Persian saying goes.

What attracted you to the diplomatic service and in what ways has it lived to your expectations? 

Living and working abroad with other nationalities in diverse geo-political countries. It has proved a constant and rewarding learning experience.

What were some of the challenges you faced as a diplomat and how did you resolve them?

Most of my career has been in areas of conflict. I have had hands-on roles in conflict-resolution, notably between the Taliban and their protagonists in Afghanistan. What can be better than to help defuse tension in the world ?

What would you advise any budding diplomats? What are some essential skills or attributes that are important to your role?

My advice has always been - that if it suits your temperament and stamina - to broaden out from national diplomacy. Seek out opportunities. For my part, I've worked for the UN, OSCE, NATO, EU as well as the armed and security services while being "anchored" by the UK Foreign Office.

What three words symbolise the School's next 100 years?

Multinational ; crossroads ; vivacious.