Gerard Russell

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Gerard Russell was a career diplomat in the British foreign service and the former head of the Islamic Media Unit. In March 2007 he was appointed as Political Counselor — "the No. 3 spot in the embassy in Kabul" — where he acted as a "supportive and advisory role to the new ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles who left the Riyadh embassy on 6 March. [1]

He worked for UK lobbying firm Quiller Consultants for three years. [2]

He is now a senior fellow with the international security program at the New America Foundation and a senior associate at the Foreign Policy Centre.[3]

Former head and spokesman for the Islamic Media Unit

Gerard Russell, is the former Head and Spokesman for the Islamic Media Unit; In this country, few would know the name of Gerard Russell, but to millions of Arabs he is the voice of Britain[4].

According to a report in the Telegraph, he studied "classics at Oxford, he joined the Foreign Office in 1995 and studied Arabic in Cairo. He served three years in the British consulate-general in Jerusalem. He returned to London in 2001 and was asked to set up the Islamic Media Unit after the September 11 attacks"[5].

Russell participated in around 200 interviews and debates in Arabic with print and broadcast media across the Middle East on a range of foreign policy issues concerning the Middle East. [6]

He served as head and spokesman for the Islamic Media Unit until 2003 when he was succeeded by Gerry McCrudden as Head and Dean McLoughlin as Spokesman.

Previous positions held

In 1995 Gerard Russell participated in one of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) seminar programs in 1995 which was a field trip for participants to European capitals and the EU headquarters in Brussels for further training and experience in foreign policy, with the aim to enabling them to gain first hand experience in this field. At the time he attended in the capacity of Assistant Desk Officer, Near East & North Africa Department, FCO[7]

Roles from 2006

In October 2006 Gerard Russell replaced Carma Elliot as Consul-General of the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia. One of his first official engagements was with the British Business Group, in which he said that as Consul-General he aimed to develop the trade relationship with Saudi Arabia, support British business, help the British community, and build links with the people of Jeddah and the rest of the western province[8]. In this capacity Russell - like his predecessor [9] - maintains close ties and works closely with the British Business Group BBG in Jeddah. Alex Bannerman, the Political Advisor to the British Consulate-General; Jeddah, is also a member of the BBG [10].



  1. website Here Today, and Gone Tomorrow Accessed 24-Feb-2008
  2. Gerard Russell MBE, accessed 14 October 2011
  3. Gerard Russell Linkedin, accessed 21 January 2015
  4. Guardia, A. L. (2003, April 1). British spokesman assumes star status in Middle East, Daily Telegraph (London) Accessed 12/02/10
  5. Guardia, A. L. (2003, April 1). British spokesman assumes star status in Middle East, Daily Telegraph (London) Accessed 12/02/10
  6. FCO website, FCO releases Departmental Report 2003 CHANGING FACE OF BRITISH DIPLOMACY Last Accessed 24-Feb-2008
  7. Website PASSIA Seminar - THE EUROPEAN UNIONAccessed 24-Feb-2008
  8. BBG Newsletter November 2006 British Business Group BBG Accessed 24-Feb-2008
  9. BBG Newsletter October 2006 British Business Group BBG Accessed 24-Feb-2008
  10. BBG Newsletter January 2007 British Business Group BBGAccessed 24-Feb-2008