FCDO appoints first ever blind ambassador

Victoria Harrison was also the first person with a disability to be recruited by the Foreign Office
Victoria and Otto. Photo: FCDO

By Jonathan Owen

15 Apr 2024

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has appointed Victoria Harrison, who is totally blind, as the UK’s ambassador to Slovenia, it announced today.

She will take over from Tiffany Sadler, who has been in the post since 2020 and will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Harrison is set to start her new role in August this year, accompanied by her guide dog 'Otto', a two-year-old labrador-golden retriever cross or "Goldador".

The appointment of the UK's first ever blind ambassador is a “historic milestone for the UK Diplomatic Service” according to the FCDO, which says that approximately 15% of its UK-based workforce has a "declared disability". 

Harrison joined the UK Diplomatic Service in 1997 and was the first person with a disability to be recruited by the Foreign Office after the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act putting into law equality for those with disabilities.

Her career to date has included postings to Helsinki and Sarajevo, as well as working on the FCDO’s responses to Ukraine and Afghanistan. Harrison’s most recent role was deputy director, Covid-19 Public Inquiry Unit, FCDO. In her new role, she will lead the government’s work to promote UK interests in Slovenia. 

Commenting on her appointment, Harrison said: “It’s an honour to represent the UK as our next ambassador to Slovenia. During my career I’m pleased to have witnessed the Diplomatic Service become much more reflective of the diversity of the country we serve and I’m proud to be part of this change.”

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