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'Fascinating and illuminating reading […] this book is truly remarkable history.' Lord (George) Robertson, Former Secretary General, NATO

Wednesday 6 September, The Lotos Room at The Beaumont

We are delighted to present the next event in our popular literary series on Wednesday 6 September with Diplomat Baroness Catherine Ashton reading from her memoir And Then What?: Inside Stories of 21st Century Diplomacy.

From 2009 to 2014, Catherine Ashton was the EU's first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security. Arriving in Brussels with no significant experience of international diplomacy, she faced the challenge of representing the views and values of 28 nations during one of the most turbulent periods in living memory. From Russia's invasion of Crimea to the Iran nuclear negotiations, she led the EU's response, charting a path towards collaboration and stability.

There were challenges, failures and occasional triumphs. She encountered dictators and war criminals, and witnessed the aftermath of natural disasters, military action and political instability. Now for the first time she takes us behind the scenes to show us what worked and what didn't, and how it felt to play a part in tackling some of the major international crises of our times.

Prior to each reading and discussion, guests are invited to enjoy drinks with canapés in the Lotos Room's lobby. Each guest will also receive a copy of And Then What? as part of their ticket, with an opportunity for signing after the talk.

'A riveting, absorbing account of modern diplomacy by one of the greatest international diplomats of recent times. And Then What? is hugely informative, full of tremendous insights, and a truly great read!' General David Petraeus (US Army, Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and NATO/US Forces in Afghanistan, and former Director of the CIA

'This riveting, deeply personal and wonderfully accessible book takes the reader inside the room during the successes, setbacks and personalities of this turbulent period of history.' Sir Kim Darroch, former British Ambassador to the USA, National Security Advisor, and UK Permanent Representative to the EU

'Cathy Ashton's gripping memoirs are not only a perfect combination of very precise facts and touching personal emotions, but for all foreign policy observers they convey important lessons of the past to serve for the crises of today.' Pierre Vimont, former French ambassador to the EU and the USA


Ticket Price: £40, including a hardback copy of the book

Time: 18.30pm - cocktail reception with canapés | 19.15pm - reading, discussion and Q&A

Location: The Lotos Room at The Beaumont

The Author

Baroness Catherine Ashton served as the European Union's first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy between 2009 and 2014. On behalf of the UN Security Council, she coordinated negotiations that resulted in the nuclear programme agreement with Iran. Previously she was EU Commissioner for Trade, served as a Minister in the Departments of Education and Justice, and was Leader of the House of Lords and President of HM Queen's Privy Council. She is Chair of the Global Europe Programme at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, senior policy advisor to Chatham House and a consultant to the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

The Book

From Serbia to Somalia, Libya to Haiti, Ashton offers a unique insight into how modern diplomacy works, examining the tools needed to tackle the many challenges facing Europe and the wider world today. An expert author with a ringside seat: Catherine Ashton was responsible for coordinating the EU's response to international crises and led historic negotiations such as the Serbia-Kosovo Accord of 2013. Her account includes encounters with Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, and many more. Incredibly timely: many of today's crises around the world have their roots in this period.