Peter Jenkins

Category: 1970s /  All Harkness Stories /  International Affairs /  Politics & Public Services / 

Peter Jenkins (HF 1971-73) CMG studied Classics at Cambridge. He was offered a place in the Diplomatic Service in 1971 but obtained a two-year deferral to be able to enrol at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Science on a Harkness Fellowship. Those two years at Harvard, where he acted in Classical Greek plays at the Loeb Theatre, and a summer spent on a 14,000-mile tour of the United States, in the company of two other Fellows, Bruno Weymuller and John Halliday, led indirectly to Sir Nicholas Henderson choosing him to be his Private Secretary during the closing stages of his term as UK Ambassador to the United States, which coincided with the 1982 Falklands War. They also equipped him to take a dispassionate view of US policies and practices in the governing bodies of the World Trade Organisation and International Atomic Energy Agency, where Peter represented the UK. And his study of Persian while at Harvard came in useful during the last years of his 33-year diplomatic career, since he found himself having to deal with some of the consequences of international concern over Iran’s nuclear programme. In retirement Peter has retained an interest in that issue, and more generally in international nuclear problems; and, as an advocate of diplomacy, has written on these subjects for US blog-sites and newspapers.