Sir Leslie Fielding, KCMG, MA, Hon LLD, FRSA, FRGS

Sir Leslie Fielding

After army service as a subaltern in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, in 1953 Leslie Fielding went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, from Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet to read Economics (but switched to History - taking a First - and dabbled in Theology). On graduation in 1956, he came second in the open competition for entry to the Foreign (later, Diplomatic) Service.

This was not to be a farewell to academia. Sir Leslie went on to study Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (1956-57), was later a Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, 1977-78 (when he married Sally Harvey, a medieval history don at St Hilda's and an expert on Domesday Book and Anglo-Norman governance); and eventually became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex (1987-92). He chaired the Geography Working Group for the National Curriculum in Schools and served for ten years as Honorary President of the University Association for Contemporary European Studies. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of his Cambridge College in 1990.

In the Diplomatic Service, Leslie Fielding spent seven years in the Foreign Office in London (in the Western Organisations Department and in the 'Think Tank'), as well as serving political assignments in overseas embassies in Tehran, Singapore, Phnom Penh and Paris. He joined the External Relations Directorate-General of the European Commission in Brussels in 1973, as the Director with special responsibility for Europe's relations with the US and the Commonwealth, but also for agricultural issues in international trade, for the EC Protocol Service and for the EC's overseas diplomatic representation. He subsequently became EC Ambassador in Tokyo (1978-82), returning to Brussels as Director-General (1982-87). Sir Leslie was knighted in 1988. He was for some years a non-executive director of IBM (Europe) and a Special Adviser to Panasonic (Europe).

Leslie Fielding's book Before the Killing Fields: Witness to Cambodia and the Vietnam War, with a preface by Chris Patten, was published in 2008 (ISBN 978 1 84511 493 0). Synopsis is elsewhere on the website, together with extracts from the 'rave reviews'. He had previously contributed to two anthologies of travel stories; Travellers' Tales, 1999 (ISBN 1 901825 01 9) and More Tales from the Travellers', 2005 (ISBN 0 905500 74 1); and written Europe as a Global Partner, 1991 (ISBN 0 906384 303).

He has been a Lay Reader in the Church of England for thirty years: in Exeter, Tokyo, Gibraltar, Chichester and Hereford Dioceses - serving also on the General Synod. He was made a 'Reader Emeritus' by the Lord Bishop of Hereford in 2007. He now very much approves of women priests, despite initial scepticism.

The Fieldings live in a farmhouse in the Welsh Marches. They have a married daughter, Emma and a student son, Leo.