Commonwealth Envoy

Philip Parham


Philip Parham was appointed the UK government’s Envoy to the Commonwealth on 18 June 2018. He is also the Special Envoy for the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 which takes place in London in January 2020.

Previously Philip was Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from July 2014 until June 2018. Before that he was the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York York (2009 to 2013), and British High Commissioner to Tanzania (2006 to 2009).

Philip joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1993 after working for 10 years as an investment banker with Morgan Grenfell and then Barclays. He spent 6 of those 10 years in Japan, and was a Director of Barclays de Zoete Wedd Limited before switching careers.

Philip’s first FCO job was Head of the Pakistan/Afghanistan Section from 1993 to 1994. In 1995 he was Private Secretary to the FCO Minister covering Americas, South and South-East Asia, Public Diplomacy, Consular and Visa work and (in the House of Commons) Africa and International Development. He served for a short period in the FCO Policy Planning Staff before serving in the British Embassy in Washington covering UN, Africa and Asia business from 1996 to 2000. At the start of his Washington role, he was seconded for 3 months to the US State Department’s East Asia and Pacific Bureau.

From 2000 to 2003, Philip served in Riyadh, as Director Trade & Investment for Saudi Arabia. On return to the FCO in London, he was Head of the Iraq Operations Unit 2003 to 2004, then Head of the Counter-Terrorism Policy Department 2004 to 2006.

His wife Kasia is a teacher and writer. They met at Oxford University and now have 2 daughters and 5 sons.

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Commonwealth Envoy

The Commonwealth Envoy represents the UK within the Commonwealth, including on the governing Board of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Envoy works in support of the 3 main pillars of the Commonwealth to implement the principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. The 3 pillars consist of:

  • its Member States (of which there are 53 including the UK)
  • the Commonwealth Secretariat
  • the many accredited Commonwealth organisations

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Previous roles in government

  • British Ambassador to United Arab Emirates
  • Chargé d'Affaires, UK Mission to the UN, New York