Rob Boardman

Foreign Office

RB Alumni

I attended St Mary’s between 1999 and 2006. Upon leaving the school, I studied at the University of Edinburgh. Having studied Japanese at St Mary’s (my favourite subject), I initially spent two years living in Japan as a foreign exchange student and then as an English teacher. I then spent a year working in the Houses of Parliament for an MP before joining the Foreign Office to represent the UK in embassies abroad. I represented the UK at the European Union and NATO, and now do so at the United Nations in Vienna. This role currently involves a focus on nuclear issues, with recent events in Ukraine and the implications on nuclear safety and security now at the forefront of my work. A personal highlight of mine during my career so far would be being in a meeting with Angelina Jolie during her role as the UN Gender Envoy, as well as spending time in New York negotiating on behalf of the UK at the United Nations.

There still have been challenges in my working life - the main one was not feeling prepared to enter the job market after university. Perhaps if I had spent some more time doing some work experience during university rather than just travelling, I would have been better off – I would suggest that a balance of the two is best in that regard.

Reflecting on my time at St Mary’s, one of the most memorable moments was completing a sponsored 24-hour bike ride “to” Burkina Faso to build St Mary’s sister school in the country, helping many young children in the process. If I were to give any advice to my younger self, it would be to do as many co-curricular activities as possible, such as joining the school council or completing the Duke of Edinburgh award, there can only be positives from doing so, such as helping future applications or maybe even finding a secret passion for something.

To those at St Mary’s today, I would suggest that you make sure you have the best time, as these are the days you will miss when you are older. You should get as much advice as possible about what you want in life, and the skills you need to get there; take any opportunity you can to better yourself too, as it will be worth it in the future