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The Future of Foreign Policy

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Each year the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) invites a prominent figure to deliver the MacCormick European Lecture. On Friday 7 August, Rt Hon Baroness Catherine Ashton GCMG PC, will deliver the 2020 MacCormick Lecture entitled “The Future of Foreign Policy”.

Seasoned diplomats say that they have never known so many issues that need to be addressed.

As Britain moves from the formal structures of Europe to the more informal this is an opportunity to reflect on the future of foreign policy and how best to address the issues that most concern us – climate change, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and war. Crises have affected the lives of millions, many of whom seek a better life free from fear.

How should we respond? Do we have the leadership we need to respond effectively? How does Scotland develop its contribution to determining the priorities we should address in the future and the way we should work together?

Book your space by registering via Zoom and have your questions answered during the live Q&A


Professor Dame Anne Glover FRS PRSE, President, Royal Society of Edinburgh

Anne Glover is a molecular biologist who has studied how we respond to stress at the molecular level. She was the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission (2012-2015). Prior to that, she was the first Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland (2006-2011). She has been an effective and well-respected ambassador for European science. She is a trustee of many charities and has a particular interest in how knowledge can be used to transform lives in Africa. She is President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and took up office in April 2018.


Rt Hon Baroness Catherine Ashton GCMG PC

Baroness Catherine Ashton served as the European Union's first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy from 2009 to 2014. In addition to overseeing the European External Action Service’s 140 diplomatic postings and eight military missions, she was responsible for chairing the Foreign Affairs Council and Defence Ministers meetings.

In 2018 she became Chair of the Global Europe Programme at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. She is a Senior Policy Advisor to Chatham House and a consultant to the Geneva based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

In 2019 she became the first woman King of Arms of the Order of St Michael and St George.