Saturday, 23 October 2010

Tablet Lecture 2010

Now well into our respective internships, on Thursday we met on a nippy October evening to hear Francis Campbell speak about his time as Ambassador to the Holy See in the Vatican.

While doing the best we could to bring the average age of the audience down, we listened with great interest to the outgoing ambassador's personal take on the Holy See and its external operations, relations with the UK - and what lies ahead for British-Vatican ties after a successful Papal visit in September.

Of particular interest was how small the Vatican press office is, and yet conducts clear and strong communications with over a billion Catholics and heads of state across the world.

Campbell contrasted the Holy See's operations with conventional foreign offices, and conveyed how decentralised many decisions were, instead of power being wielded at the centre and delegated outwards to the periphery.

To the dismay of some (particularly journalists in the audience) Campbell's talk did not linger near controversial topics or reveal more sensitive ambassadorial work. However, this kind of diplomacy has contributed greatly to Britain's excellent relations with the Holy See.

Campbell leaves big shoes to fill, whoever his successor may be.

No comments: