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Sir John Sawers, former MI6 Chief: international security in a modern world


Death-defying stunts, epic chase scenes through exotic locales, a lone operative battling to save the nation from megalomaniac supervillains. We’re of course talking about the fictional world of James Bond. But while the real MI6 is not all Aston Martins and martinis, there are threats that feature in more recent James Bond films that Britain’s secret service face today. With the rise of digital technologies changing the landscape of international security and increasingly used by terrorist organisations such as Islamic State to threaten the world, how are our intelligence and diplomatic services adapting to the challenge? Sir John Sawers, former Chief of MI6 and leading authority on international security, considers this issue in an exclusive lecture for Nottingham alumni. 

On Her Majesty’s Service – hear Sir John discuss what it takes to protect our nation

“The world is a safer place than it used to be, but of course there are big threats that we face. The bigger and more immediate threats come from terrorism and cyber-security threats.”

There are few more experienced in matters of foreign affairs and international security than Sir John Sawers (Physics and Philosophy, 1976). Over a 36-year career with the Foreign Office and MI6, roles such as Political Director of the Foreign Office and UK Representative to the United Nations have seen him closely involved in the UK’s major foreign policy issues including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Kosovo conflict and the Northern Ireland peace process. In his most recent role as the Chief of MI6, a role commonly known as ‘C’, he has been credited with modernising the service to meet the evolving challenges of international security. 

For your eyes only – an exclusive invitation to attend Sir John’s lecture

Now, as part of our exclusive Chancellor’s Lecture Series, Sir John will deliver an insightful and engaging lecture examining how technology is changing international security and diplomacy. Through his talk, Sir John will consider the impact of digital technologies upon foreign affairs and intelligence efforts, developing trends in data protection and security, and what this means for civilians.

This exciting free event will be held on Wednesday 25 November 2015 from 6-8.30pm at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. The evening will include arrival and post-lecture refreshments along with networking opportunities.

Bookings are now open – register here to secure your free tickets. 
The Secret Intelligence Service – an insider’s perspective

In addition to your exclusive invitation to our Chancellor’s Lecture, we’re also bringing you a feature interview with Sir John in our autumn alumni magazine. Inside, Sir John discusses the role of diplomacy in resolving conflict, what it takes to work in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and if there’s any truth behind the fictional world of James Bond. Look out for our new look magazine CONNECT, and our new online magazine, this October and delve behind the scenes of Britain’ Secret Intelligence Service. 

Posted on Thursday 1st October 2015

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