Michael Williams, Lord Williams of Baglan 1949 - 2017

The University regrets to announce the death of outstanding Welsh diplomat and Council lay member of Swansea University, Michael Williams, Lord Williams of Baglan.

Lord WilliamsLord Williams joined the Council of Swansea University as a lay member in March in 2013.

The son of a steel-worker in Port Talbot, Lord Williams developed an interest in international relations while at university.  He progressed to a most eminent career as an expert in international relations including periods of active engagement in conflict resolution in some of the most troubled areas of the world.

Lord Williams worked for the United Nations in Cambodia and the Balkans and was Director for Asia and the Middle East in the UN Secretariat in New York between 2005 and 2007.  From 2008 to 2011 he was Special Representative of the Secretary General in Lebanon. He also worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2000 to 2005 as Special Adviser to two Foreign Secretaries, Robin Cook and Jack Straw.

He became a distinguished fellow at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, in October 2011, when he returned to London after completing his time at the United Nations and becoming a life peer and the international trustee at the BBC. He brought to Chatham House his extensive experience both at the UN, where he reached the level of undersecretary general (having served as the UN special coordinator for Lebanon and, earlier, as the special adviser to the secretary general on the Middle East), and in government.

Earlier in his career, he worked as part of the UN Transitional Administration for Cambodia (UNTAC) and the UN Protection Force for the Former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR), after serving as a senior editor at the BBC World Service and the head of the Asia research department at Amnesty International.

Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard B Davies said: ”We are deeply saddened by the premature death of Lord Williams and extend our condolences to his wife and children.

“On his journey from humble origins in Port Talbot to high-profile roles in international relations, Lord Williams acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise.  He recognised his debt to his home region and joined the Council of the University so that he could ‘give something back’.  He was particularly concerned about the uncertain future of the steel industry.  The University is extremely grateful for his wisdom, insight, and counsel.  He was also a warmly-regarded friend of the University and will be remembered with both respect and affection.”