Dr Christian Turner CMG to return to England after serving as the British High Commissioner to Pakistan for three years
Image by Twitter @CTurnerFCDO
The British Foreign Secretary, The Rt. Hon. James Cleverly MP, has announced the appointment of Dr Christian Turner CMG to a senior diplomatic position in London as Director General Geopolitical (Political Director) at the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This is a position equivalent to Under Secretary of State.
Currently serving as the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, a position he has held since December 2019, Christian Turner is expected to depart the country and take up his new role as a Political Director in London by mid-January 2023. This follows the end of a standard three year diplomatic posting.
The position of Political Director is traditionally seen as the UK’s second most senior diplomat. They are responsible for bringing together the UK government’s cross-cutting geopolitical work on security, international architecture and alliances, as well as UK values.
Over his three years as High Commissioner, Christian Turner oversaw the UK’s COVID-19 repatriation efforts, welcomed a UK Foreign Secretary visit, lobbied for and secured direct flights from the UK to Pakistan, initiated a drive to double UK-Pakistan trade by 2025, ensured that the UK was at the forefront of the international Pakistan flood crisis response and played a pivotal role in the promotion of sports diplomacy and the return of the England Men’s cricket team to Pakistan following a 17 year absence.
The British High Commissioner, Christian Turner, said, “The last three years have been some of the most rewarding of my life, both professionally and personally. I will continue closely to follow Pakistan’s future in my new role in London.”
Prior to his appointment as High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner CMG was the Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser from April 2017 to July 2019. He previously served as the Director General, Political (Acting) and Director General for the Middle East and Africa, leading the UK organisation of the London Syria Conference in February 2016. From 2012 to 2015 he was British High Commissioner to Kenya; and from 2009 to 2012 he was FCO’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Between 1997 and 2008 he held various positions in the Foreign Office, the Cabinet Office and 10 Downing Street, including as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, as Secretary to the Economic & Domestic Committees of Cabinet, and as First Secretary in the British Embassy in Washington from 2002-2006. Before joining government, he made television documentaries, following the completion of his PhD. He is married with two children. No announcement has been made regarding the appointment of a new High Commissioner to Pakistan. The Deputy High Commissioner, Andrew Dalgleish, will take on the role of chargé d’affaires to cover an expected interim gap until a new High Commissioner arrives.