Alice Walpole is the British Ambassador to the Sahel countries of Mali and Niger, based in Bamako, where her focus at present includes developing the UK role in combating human-trafficking, modern slavery and violent extremism across the Sahara region and supporting implementation of the Malian peace process.
Previously, she was the British Ambassador to Luxembourg (2011-2016), and immediately before that she was the British Consul General in Basra, Iraq (2009-2011).
Alice began her career at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1985, and has served overseas, in addition to Mali, Luxembourg and Iraq, at the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York (twice), the UK Representation to the European Union in Brussels, the UK delegation to NATO and in the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam.
Her home postings in London have included Head of the Foreign Office’s Peacekeeping Unit and Deputy Head of the (cross-Government) Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit.
Alice Walpole’s exemplary career in the Foreign Office has seen her in leadership positions across the world, often in extremely difficult security environments. In Iraq, she led the follow-on mission after the British military withdrew from Basra, during which posting she slept in a shipping container and was accompanied everywhere by a close protection team, with the enduring risk of incoming rockets, explosive devices on roads and kidnap when travelling.
The challenges she has faced as a woman in some of the world’s most volatile regions are made even more remarkable as she is the very hands-on mother to six (now adult) children. She dedicated herself to one of the most daunting and dangerous jobs any British diplomat could, whilst balancing a busy family life.
Her exceptional achievement was recognised in the 2017 New Year's Honours List, when she was awarded an OBE. Despite her many commitments, Alice has made time throughout her career to mentor younger women and girls, and volunteered to launch the inaugural “Inspiring Females” Symposium at Norwich High School in 2016.