Global Heritage, Global Ambitions – Scotland’s International Relations

As part of our ‘National Engagement Series’, the BFPG hosted its third university event in Edinburgh in partnership with the University of Edinburgh School of Social and Political Science’s Centre for Security Research and the Asia-Scotland Institute. The event, which took place in McEwan Hall in the heart of Edinburgh focused on Scotland’s vital role in UK foreign policy and the need for greater debate and capacity around Scotland’s international relations regardless of any questions concerning the constitutional position.

The event consisted of two panel discussions which featured representatives from politics, the civil service, business, academia and the cultural sector. Speakers included Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for International Development and Europe, Lord Des Browne, Former Secretary of State for Defence and for Scotland, Tim Allan, President of Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Caroline Wilson CMG, Director Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The panellists responded to an audience- led discussion touching on varied foreign policy topics including trade, soft power, international development and the environment.

There was great audience attendance and participation with over 125 attendees from many different sectors and backgrounds contributing to a rich and varied discussion on UK foreign policy. There was also a strong student presence throughout. Sofia Cogliano, one of BFPG’s Student Ambassadors from the University of Edinburgh spoke on the first panel to represent the voice of young people in the debate on our foreign policy choices.  Ananya Bhadauria, Head Ambassador at the University of Edinburgh and Christopher Hetherington, one of BFPG’s Programme Coordinators for the Student Ambassador Programme conducted interviews with the speakers with the other Ambassadors helping out throughout

The BFPG look forward to continuing its series of university events around the UK to provide the platform for important discussions on the UK’s foreign policy choices and how they impact us all.

The next university event with be hosted in partnership with the University of Leeds on the 23rd February, more details to follow.


Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary

Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for International Development and Europe

Lord Des Browne, Former Secretary of State for Defence and for Scotland

Sofia Cogliano, BFPG Student Ambassador, Student at the University of Edinburgh

Tim Allan, President, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Caroline Wilson CMG, Director Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Lyndsey Jackson, Director of Operations, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Graham Caie, Vice President at The Royal Society of Edinburgh

Kurt Mills, Professor of International Relations and Human Rights, University of Dundee

Tom Cargill, Executive Director, British Foreign Policy Group

Dr Andrew Neal, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh

Peter Budd, Director, Arup

Professor James Smith, Vice-Principal International, University of Edinburgh

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of the BFPG. The BFPG is an independent not for profit organisation that encourages constructive, informed and considered opinions without taking an institutional position on any issue.
BFPG Admin