Thomas Fletcher (diplomat)

Tom Fletcher at the launch of his book 'The Naked Diplomat' in Beirut 2016

Thomas Stuart Francis "Tom" Fletcher CMG (born 27 March 1975) is a former British diplomat, writer and campaigner. From 2011-2015, he was the UK's Ambassador to Lebanon.[1][2] He is now a Visiting Professor at NYU and author of 'The Naked Diplomat' (Harper Collins, 2016).

Early lifeEdit

Fletcher was born in Kent, and educated at The Harvey Grammar School, and at Hertford College, Oxford, where he was awarded first class honors in Modern History. He was Junior Common Room President at Hertford College. The students at Hertford College voted to change his official title to Lord High Baboon of All Oxford.


Tom Fletcher is a Visiting Professor of International Relations at New York University,[3] a Visiting Professor at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy,[4] and an adviser to the Global Business Coalition for Education.[citation needed] He is an Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford University.[5]

Fletcher was British Ambassador to Lebanon from 2011 until 2015.[6] While in Beirut, he pioneered a more open style of diplomacy, with many of his blogposts going viral (Dear Lebanon[7] and Yalla Bye[8]). The BBC made a documentary about his work.[9] He led UK initiatives on refugee education, job creation [10] and border security.[11] Arab News described him as “the anti-diplomat.” Not in the sense that he sees no value in diplomacy, but in his steadfast refusal to live up to the stereotype expected of the ambassadorial profession.[12] He was commended by many commentators for his viral online farewell which resurrected the old Foreign Officer tradition of the valedictory despatch.[13]

Global Education

He is the Project Director of Towards Global Learning Goals - a network that aims to create equal opportunities, to develop the skills needed to thrive in a new economy, and to make it easier for people on the move to adapt.[14] His five part podcast series focused on learning of the head, hand and heart.[15] Since 2017, he has led a review on the future of learning[16] trying to understand how we can help the next generation learn the right things in the right way.

Fletcher was elected to the position of Principal of Hertford College, Oxford University in November 2019.[17] He will take up the role in September 2020.


In 2016, he led a review of British diplomacy for the UK Foreign Office [18] tasked by Sir Simon McDonald. [19] According to the Financial Times, he was trying to make the FCO "more like 24, and less like The Good Life." As a result of the report, the FCO accelerated the effort to appoint women ambassadors and overhauled IT.

His book, Naked Diplomacy - Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age, was published by Harper Collins on 2 June 2016.[20] It is now the best selling book on diplomacy by a British writer and has been launched in over twenty countries. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown called it "diplomatic genius", and Former PM David Cameron wrote that it was "a great read from a brilliant diplomat". The Times called it "a brilliant, funny polemic ... a cracking read". The Guardian called it "a call for us all to reconsider our place in society ... to be brave, creative, involved and connected."[21] The New Statesman called it "articulate, intelligent and immensely readable."[22]

In September 2017, he published a report on the future of the United Nations on how technology can help the UN. Drawing on contributions from young people, technology gurus, civil society, governments and business, it sets out twenty concrete ideas that can help the UN ready itself for the Digital Age. [23]

Fletcher was recently ranked the fourth most influential international personality in the Middle East.[24]

Tech & The Future

He chairs the International Board of the Creative Industries Federation promoting Britain’s most dynamic and magnetic sector overseas.[25] He is also a Board Member of the Dubai Future Academy.[26]

He is a member of the Global Tech Panel, co-chaired by EU Vice President Federica Mogherini and Microsoft President Brad Smith. With a mandate about how best tech can help meet the SDGs, what to do about the challenges and opportunities of AI, how to build a stronger international system for the 21st century, and the threat of lethal autonomous weapons.[27]

The Foundation for Opportunity

In 2018, he founded The Foundation for Opportunity, which supports good people doing good things in public life. The Foundation brings great people together to share ideas, skills, and experience, and support future leaders to deliver positive change in their communities.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

He is married to Dr Louise Fletcher, an Irish psychologist. They have two sons. According to The Sunday Times,[29] while in 10 Downing Street Fletcher collected a book of advice for his sons from world leaders, including Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton.


  1. ^ "So…Yalla, Bye".
  2. ^ Meyer, Christopher (6 August 2015). "How to step down as an ambassador - with style" – via
  3. ^ Dhabi, NYU Abu. "Thomas Fletcher". New York University Abu Dhabi.
  4. ^ "British diplomat appointed as senior adviser at Emirates Diplomatic Academy". The National. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Mr Thomas Fletcher". Hertford College | University of Oxford. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Tom Fletcher - GOV.UK".
  7. ^ "Dear Lebanon: An Open Letter". November 2013.
  8. ^ "So…Yalla, Bye". July 2015.
  9. ^ "On Her Majesty's Service - in a new way". 25 August 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  10. ^ "UK-Lebanon Technology Hub". GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  11. ^ Watt, Holly (30 November 2014). "Secret British role in halting Isil 'massacre' in Lebanon". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  12. ^ "'Naked Diplomat' author Tom Fletcher bares all on life as UK ambassador to Lebanon". Arab News. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  13. ^ Meyer, Christopher (6 August 2015). "How to step down as an ambassador - with style". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  14. ^ "We need a learning revolution - Towards Global Learning Goals". Global Learning Goals. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Learning in the Digital Age - a Better Angels podcast special with Tom Fletcher". Global Learning Goals. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Be Kind, Be Curious, Be Brave" (PDF). Towards Global Learning Goals.
  17. ^ "Hertford College - News".
  18. ^ "Future FCO Report - GOV.UK".
  19. ^ "The FCO- "Less Ferrero Rocher, more Jack Bauer"?".
  20. ^ Fletcher, Tom. The naked diplomat : understanding power and politics in the digital age (William Collins paperback ed.). London. ISBN 9780008127589. OCLC 953438948.
  21. ^ Boyes, Roger (11 June 2016). "Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age by Tom Fletcher". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Blogging for peace: the reach of digital resistance in the Middle East". Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  23. ^ "United Networks".
  24. ^ Feed, Step (31 July 2017). "Our list of the top 10 expats living in the Arab world". StepFeed. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Council - Creative Industries Federation".
  26. ^ "Hamdan bin Mohammed approves board of trustees of Dubai Future Academy". Dubai Government Media Office. 5 July 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  27. ^ "About the Global Tech Panel". EEAS - European External Action Service - European Commission. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Dream Big Kid, and give Carla a call".

External linksEdit

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Matthew Gould
Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister
Succeeded by
John Casson
Preceded by
Frances Guy
Ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon
Succeeded by
Hugo Shorter