British ambassador to United States will deliver major policy address at WUSTL

Nigel Sheinwald to discuss alliance between U.S., U.K. in T.S. Eliot Lecture

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, British ambassador to the United States, will deliver a major policy address at 4 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Washington University in St. Louis in Holmes Lounge, Ridgley Hall.

His talk is the annual T.S. Eliot Lecture, which is named in honor of the famed poet and author who was the grandson of Washington University co-founder William Greenleaf Eliot.

The title of Sheinwald’s address is “Britain and America: An Easy Commerce of the Old and New.”

“An easy commerce of the old and new” is a line in Eliot’s Little Gidding, the fourth and final poem of his Four Quartets series. Eliot wrote Little Gidding during World War II and the air raids on Great Britain.

The T.S. Eliot Lecture is a unique trans-Atlantic lecture program because it is held every academic year, alternating between venues in London and at Washington University in St. Louis.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested. Call Debra McCombs at (314) 935-8003 or e-mail her at by Tuesday, March 1. A reception will follow the talk in Holmes Lounge.

In his address, Sheinwald will discuss how the United States-United Kingdom alliance is as important for the two countries’ future as it has been for their past.

He will argue that while the U.S.-U.K. relationships with rising powers such as China are important and fast changing, the transatlantic alliance delivers security and prosperity for both sides and will continue to do so well into the future.

This relationship is based on shared values and aspirations and on deep inter-dependence between the two societies, their economies and their researchers and innovators who are shaping their countries’ futures.

Ambassador Sheinwald

Sheinwald joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1976 and has served in Washington (twice), Brussels (twice) and Moscow and in a wide range of policy jobs in London.

He took up his position as British ambassador to the United States in October 2007. In that role, he leads the embassy in Washington and nine consulates-general around the United States.

He had an earlier posting to Washington in 1983-87 as first secretary (political) in the embassy.

Before becoming ambassador in Washington, Sheinwald served as foreign policy and defence adviser to the prime minister from 2003-07.

Sheinwald was the U.K. ambassador and permanent representative to the European Union in Brussels from 2000-03. Before that he was Europe director in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1998-2000.

He had an earlier posting in the U.K. Representation in 1993-95 as head of its Political and Institutional Section. He began his career in European Union work as deputy head of the FCO’s European Union Department in 1989-1992.

Sheinwald’s first foreign posting was in Moscow in 1978-79. He was also head of the Foreign Office’s Anglo-Soviet Section in 1981-83.

Sheinwald has had a wide variety of other appointments in the FCO in London. From 1995-98, he was the FCO press secretary and head of the News Department. He was deputy head of the Foreign Office’s Policy Planning Staff in 1987-1989, responsible for transatlantic relations and other issues.

He also worked in London on the Japan Desk (1976-77) and on Zimbabwe (1979-1981), including the Lancaster House Conference.

Sheinwald was born in 1953 and educated at Harrow County Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford. He is married with three sons.

T.S. Eliot Lecture

T.S. Eliot, who was born in St. Louis in 1888 and died in his adopted home of London in 1965, helped to transform modern poetry with such works as The Waste Land and Four Quartets.

The lecture in his name is given every academic year, alternating between London, typically at the University of London, and Washington University.

It features writers, scholars and public figures from fields as diverse as Eliot’s own interests, from literature to philosophy, politics and the arts.

Gerald L. Early, PhD, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and director of the Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, presented the inaugural T.S. Eliot Lecture at the Institute of United States Studies at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study in February 2000.

Lord William Rees-Mogg, former editor of The Times of London and a widely known writer on political and economic affairs, delivered the first T.S. Eliot Lecture at Washington University that May in Holmes Lounge, inaugurating the American component of the lecture program.