Who we are and what we do

“Supporting greater public understanding of the UK’s foreign policy choices”


The British Foreign Policy Group provides fresh thinking and accessible, objective information on the UK’s foreign policy choices and why they matter to everybody in the UK. In doing so the BFPG is building important links between British civil society, policy makers, business, media and other stakeholders on how the UK might make the most of its considerable assets in support of common security and prosperity.


Public debate in Britain around the recent referendums on European Union membership and Scottish independence illustrates the poor quality of understanding and engagement on UK foreign policy issues. Sources of independent information are insufficiently accessible, making it hard for people to understand how the UK’s international position and choices impacts our everyday lives, which in turn undermines the quality of national debate on foreign policy priorities, including the complex interplay between trade, diplomatic and security interests.

BFPG has two main roles:

1. Meeting the need for innovative and independent foreign policy ideas for post-Brexit United Kingdom. The BPFG will catalyse a new focus on the direction the UK’s foreign policy should be taking.


2. Engaging groups across the United Kingdom including in civil society, academia, media, business and policy, to promote informed and evidence-led engagement on the UK’s international position and choices.


The BFPG is an independent not for profit organisation that encourages constructive, informed and considered opinions without taking an institutional position on any issue.



Tom Cargill – Executive Director
Tom Cargill is Executive Director of the British Foreign Policy Group. He has worked in various roles in the public, private and NGO sectors, including at the charity for children in care Believe, as well as 10 years at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) followed by 4 years at the engineering, procurement and construction multinational Bechtel. He is the author of numerous reports, chapters and articles on international and foreign policy issues.


Edward Elliott – Research & Operations Manager
Edward Elliott is Research & Operations Manager at the British Foreign Policy Group. He is a graduate in politics, international relations, French, and law, having studied at Durham University and Sciences Po. Fluent in Spanish as well as French, he has an international background, having lived in Spain, Argentina, and France as well as the UK. He has worked in France, Spain, England, and Slovakia before joining the BFPG as a researcher and helping establish the organisation.


Alice Campbell – Researcher
Alice Campbell is a Researcher at the British Foreign Policy Group. She is a recent graduate from the University of London Institute in Paris where she studied French and History. After graduating from university, Alice worked for a Paris based tech start-up, working in Communications and Community Management. She has lived in The Gambia, France and the UK and is fluent in French.


The British Foreign Policy Group was established by Executive Director Tom Cargill, and includes an experienced board of directors:


Tracey Smith
Tracey Smith is the deputy Chair of Strategy International and Chief Executive of its overseas focussed company, British Expertise International (BEI). BEI delivers market access and opportunities in all aspects of physical and social infrastructure to its membership of UK-based companies.  Founded in 1966 BEI maintains very close relations with a range of UK and overseas governments with its unique network of contacts across public and private sectors to drive business development for members around the world.  Prior to that she worked in FDI representing a number of US states in Europe including Florida, Utah, Oregon and Missouri. Tracey started her career in the advertising sector working across FMCG and B2B.


Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson is chief financial officer and director of Bechtel Group, Inc., a leading engineering, project management and construction company. He also serves as executive sponsor of the corporate services including Bechtel Enterprises (Bechtel’s project financing and development arm), Corporate Affairs, IS&T, and Security. A UK citizen, Peter joined Bechtel in 1978 in London, and has held a wide range of commercial and operational leadership roles including recently as head of the global infrastructure division. Peter is married with two children, and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in natural sciences from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University. He currently serves on the Campaign Board for the University and Colleges of Cambridge, and the Board of Cambridge in America.


Peter O’Kane
Peter chairs the Strategy International Group, which, among other things, owns the long-established private business networks, The D Group and British Expertise. Both organisations’ members operate at the forefront of the UK’s international trading challenges. A life-long internationalist, his career has taken him around the globe. Following his MA at Cambridge he worked for John Swire in Hong Kong, Australia and The Philippines. Years in financial services saw him practise in The City, the US and Scandinavia, returning to the East, notably China, Korea and SE Asia, when he took over Crosby a leading pan-Asian investment banking business. Since its sale he has focused on a range of finance and UK technology businesses, assuming the chairmanship of Strategy in 2014.

Advisory Group

The British Foreign Policy Group benefits from support of a small advisory group which provides advice and external perspectives on our work. Current members are:


Cat Tully
Cat Tully is founder of FromOverHere, advocating “system stewardship” and emergent strategic planning, and School Of International Futures, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at promoting the use of strategic foresight. She designs and convenes interventions aimed at disseminating a better approach to decision-making and action-taking. Cat advises and teaches, including at Moscow’s Presidential Academy for Public Administration and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 Advisory Panel. Previously, she was Strategy Project Director at the UK FCO and Policy Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.


Richard Whitman
Professor Richard G. Whitman is Professor of Politics and International Relations in the School of Politics and International Relations. He is also Director of the Global Europe Centre. He is currently an ESRC Senior Fellow on its UK in a Changing Europe initiative. Professor Whitman is also a Senior Visiting Fellow at Chatham House (formerly known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs) and an Academic Fellow at the European Policy Centre. He regularly writes and researches for think tanks.


Julie Chappell OBE
Julie is a Partner at Hawthorn Communications, as well as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Previously Julie Headed up the National Security Council’s Emerging Powers Strategy, and the GREAT Britain campaign team at the FCO. During her career with the FCO Jules had postings in London, Guatemala City, Addis Ababa, Washington DC, Baghdad and Amman. Between 2009 and 2012 Julie served as Britain’s youngest ever Ambassador, and in 2004 was awarded the OBE for her work helping women to enter politics in post-war Iraq.


Richard Cockett
Richard Cockett is a journalist, author and former academic, currently staff writer and British Business Editor at the Economist magazine. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including on Burma and Sudan, as well as a number of important themes in UK public life over the past 70 years.


Elizabeth Linder

Elizabeth Linder is Founder and CEO of The Conversational Century, a global advisory movement. She advises heads of state, government officials, executive management teams and civil society leaders on mastering the art of conversation in the digital age across more than 40 countries including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. She previously founded and built Facebook’s Politics and Government division for the EMEA region, heading the team from London during the Arab Spring as new political parties challenged the status quo and political content on Facebook dominated conversations.  Elizabeth started her career at Google/YouTube on the Global Communications and Public Policy team.


Andrew Mitchell

Andrew is currently on secondment from the FCO and working as Director at communications and events company, M-is. Andrew’s diplomatic career includes postings as HM Ambassador to Sweden and Director for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, where Andrew was also responsible for the GREAT Britain Campaign. Andrew was also Director Prosperity in the FCO, which included oversight of the FCO’s work on economic and commercial diplomacy, the emerging powers and trade issues. Earlier in his career, Andrew served in Germany and Nepal

Student Ambassador Programme

National Programme Coordinators

Christopher Hetherington – Durham University

Maite Bikenge – Aston University

Funded by Strategy International

Strategy International is the holding company for three unique and complementary strategic business development organisations and their extensive UK and global networks; membership organisations, The D Group and British Expertise International and trade marketing specialist, Inspire Publishing. They are based in London, operate at Board and C level and are currently active in over 30 countries around the world, serving over 300 companies and institutions employing in excess of 7 million.

Next Steps

The British Foreign Policy Group started work in Autumn 2016, and is seeking support and input.


If you are interested in the work of the group please contact us:


+44 (0) 207 318 9200