British Ambassador to Italy Jill Morris Visits John Cabot University
On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the International Relations Society welcomed British Ambassador to Italy and San Marino, Jill Morris, CMG. Ambassador Morris, who has been in her role since July 2016, spoke about her career trajectory, the things she learned in her years as a diplomat, and what Brexit entails.
Ambassador Morris is from Chester, Cheshire, England. The first person from her family to go to university, she has an MA from the University of Southampton and a Ph.D. from Warwick University. After years in academia, she joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1999. Ambassador Morris worked in various offices and capacities in Cyprus, London and Brussels. In 2015, she was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for her contribution to British foreign policy while she was Director for Europe of the FCO.
Ambassador Morris remarked how varied working in diplomacy is. There are many different types of careers one can pursue all around the world, each with different policy focuses. Two of the main characteristics needed for a diplomat, she continued, are flexibility and adaptability. Flexibility in terms of job posting, hours, and tasks. Adaptability because on the job there could be the necessity, as happened to Ambassador Morris, to become an expert in a very short period of time in a topic never before tackled.
In regards to the relationship between the UK and the EU following the Brexit vote, Ambassador Morris said, “On all the most important and global issues, the UK will remain a close ally of the EU. The British decided they wanted to take back control: on laws, economy, borders. They didn’t vote to put up a wall. We are leaving the EU, not Europe. We want a close and special partnership with Europe.” She clarified that reaching an agreement on the terms of the “divorce” between the UK and the EU will be difficult. Having been a member of the EU since 1973 (back then still the European Economic Community), the legal and economic framework of the UK is closely linked to that of the European Union. This makes reaching an agreement challenging, but also ensures the convergence in policy outlooks between the UK and the EU. The key to reaching a successful agreement is to enter negotiations with a win-win mentality. “We need to work together and find a solution for all,” Ambassador Morris said.