Director General, Political

Karen Pierce CMG


Karen Pierce became Director General Political, Foreign & Commonwealth Office in April 2017.

Career History

  • 2016-2017: Chief Operating Officer, Foreign and Commonwealth Officer
  • 2015-2016: Ambassador to Afghanistan
  • 2012-2015: Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the UN and Other International Organisations, Geneva
  • 2009 – 2012: FCO, Director, South Asia and Afghanistan (UK Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (June 2010-June 2011)
  • 2006 – 2009: UK Mission to the UN (New York), Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador
  • 2003 – 2006: FCO, Balkans Co-ordinator & UK Representative on Contact Group
  • 2000 – 2001: FCO, Head of EU Department, Bilateral and concurrently after 9/11 FCO, Head of Afghanistan Political Military Unit
  • 1999 – 2000: FCO, Head of Newsroom
  • 1997 – 1999: FCO, Eastern Adriatic (Balkans) Department, later Deputy Head of Department
  • 1996 – 1997: FCO, Team Leader for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova
  • 1992 – 1995: Washington, Private Secretary
  • 1987 – 1991: FCO, Security Policy Department
  • 1984 – 1987: Tokyo, Third Secretary, following Japanese language training
  • 1981: Joined FCO

Karen is married and has two children.

Director General, Political

Board members give corporate leadership to the FCO by ensuring that the department meets the foreign policy priorities, Public Service Agreements targets and service delivery targets set by ministers. The Director General, Political focuses on the UK’s key foreign policy objectives and has the following areas of responsibility and regions:

  • HMG foreign policy priorities, international crises and conflict, maintenance of international peace and security
  • European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
  • The UK relationship with the United States
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • South Asia and Afghanistan
  • Western Balkans
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • United Nations, including the UN Security Council, and other multilateral fora

Previous roles in government

  1. Chief Operating Officer

    • 2016 to 2017
  2. British Ambassador to Afghanistan

    • 2015 to 2016
  3. Ambassador and Permanent Representative, UK Mission to the UN and Other International Organisations, Geneva

    • 2012 to 2015


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  1. The UK in support of the 2013 Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan launched in Geneva

    • Speech