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Alumnus Jonathan Dunn’s Political Journey

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Alumnus Jonathan Dunn’s Political Journey

Since August 2014, Jonathan Dunn (UWCSEA 1991-1993) has been the British Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In his role, along with looking out for British citizens visiting and living in Rio, he is working to expand business relations between Brazil and the UK, encourage more British companies to expand to Brazil and promote education. Previously, he worked for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office for almost 20 years, focusing on “issues as diverse as human rights and trade policy, as well as supporting the accession processes to the European Union of Hungary and Slovakia.” He also spent four years in South East Asia at the British Embassy in Hanoi, before moving to Brazil in 2009 first in Brasilia working initially on economic and trade issues, then as the Deputy Head of Mission (Deputy Ambassador). My responsibilities in the latter role involved the whole range of UK interests in Brazil, from supporting British Nationals visiting the country, to discussing difficult foreign policy issues with the Brazilian government – our role is to try and build consensus around key issues that matter to the UK government – think Syria in recent years. I was also responsible to planning and managing the British Diplomatic Mission’s work around the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in particular our preparations for any crisis that might have occurred. Thankfully our work was not needed.”

After the World Cup, Jonathan was appointed as the British Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, with a particular focus on preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  “However, I also spend a lot of time promoting British interests, especially British business in Rio. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done to support the UK energy sector in Rio, including during a really difficult time for the oil and gas sector in recent years. Rio 2016 was extraordinary. I led on the British government’s planning for it and through visiting members of the Royal family, Ministers and VIPs, the amazing success of Team GB and Paralympics GB we promoted Britain through two hospitality houses. I was honoured to receive an OBE from HM The Queen for my work on the Games.”

When asked what makes him passionate about his work, he said: I’ve had a love of politics and international affairs for many years. But in order to get under the skin of any issues, you have to enjoy spending time with people and getting to know them and the issues. This is what I have loved and continue to love. Events in recent years with the UK’s referendum on EU membership and the US presidential election have made high quality diplomacy even more important, ensuring that the UK’s role in the world is maintained and enhanced.”

Jonathan’s experience at UWCSEA and its international dimension had a deep impact on his life. “The internationalism of my experience at UWCSEA played an important role in shaping my outlook. I think there were 60 nationalities at the College when I was there and the fact that diversity was part of normal life was a fantastic basis on which to enter the world of diplomacy.  Also, project week in Vietnam gave me a snapshot of a country that I was then able to get to know far better with a posting there.”

What gets Jonathan up in the morning is the variety of his job. “I could be doing almost anything from hosting a UK Government Minister, to visiting a floating oil platform under construction. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with people as interesting and varied as Ringo Starr, HRH Prince Edward and our then Prime Minister David Cameron. My worries focus on my responsibility to help British Nationals who get into trouble in Brazil. I hope very much that I don’t have to deal with an air crash or some other major accident, but I’ll be ready if I do.”  


9 Mar 2017
Media and Republish

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