President of Trinity College at the University of Oxford and UGA Press Author to Give UGA Signature Lecture

roberts_coversationsmilosevic_heOn Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at 4:00 p.m., as part of the University of Georgia Provost’s Signature Lectures, Sir Ivor Roberts, President of Trinity College, University of Oxford, will give a lecture titled “Strengthening International Alliances in a World That Wants to Tear Them Apart” at the UGA Chapel.

Roberts will discuss his experiences working in the British Diplomatic Service for nearly forty years, including his time as ambassador at Belgrade during the Bosnian civil war and the descent into war in Kosovo, detailed in his most recent book Conversations with Milošević. The book is a firsthand portrayal of the so-called Butcher of the Balkans, the Serbian president whose ambitions sparked the Bosnian conflict. At its heart the book is a portrait of an autocrat who rode the tiger of nationalism to serve his own ends and to promote those who furthered his agenda.

As UGA Press acquisitions editor Patrick Allen pointed out, the publication of Roberts’s book by the University of Georgia Press builds on and expands the press’s growing list of titles related to international affairs, and it provides a timely analysis and important perspective at a critical moment.


Sir Ivor Roberts

“Roberts had access to Slobodan Milošević unique among Western diplomats, as Milošević served as the third president of the former Republic of Yugoslavia and earlier as the first president of Serbia,” Allen said. “Sir Ivor joins the debate on why the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated, and why it did so with such violence, as well as opens areas of discussion on those processes that will be of interest and value to historians and to students of politics and international relations. The press is honored to publish Sir Ivor’s memoir as a document of the turbulent times in the Yugosphere and as a complement to our Studies in Security and International Affairs series, published in collaboration with UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security and the Department of International Affairs.”

James McClung, director of the UGA at Oxford Program, agreed.

“When he first shared the news with me that he had brought his manuscript Conversations with Milošević to UGA and that he’d done so primarily because of Trinity’s connection with UGA, I was thrilled,” McClung said. “Roberts has been involved in many important book projects, not least of which was editing the instructional gold standard, Satow’s Diplomatic Practice. For our institution to capitalize on this opportunity to publish what is an engaging and an invaluable insight into one of the most unique diplomatic situations of the last century is a boon for UGA and a further sign of our solid connection to one of the University of Oxford’s most venerable institutions.”

McClung also noted that Roberts’s presence on the University of Georgia campus in Athens reinforces the deep and growing ties between our institutions.

“The UGA association with Trinity College Oxford began nearly exactly as Sir Ivor Roberts became the president of that institution (2005). Founded in the sixteenth century, Trinity College is one of the most well known, open, and friendly of the Oxford Colleges, and under Sir Ivor’s direction it has become even more so,” he said. “During our summer programs, approximately one hundred UGA students enjoy all the college has to offer and have been welcomed into the city and the university there with great enthusiasm. Sir Ivor may be frequently seen walking his dogs in the garden or chatting with faculty and students in front of his lodgings. He has demonstrated great interest in our university and the welfare of our students and has unquestionably made them all feel quite welcome in this famous university town.”

Robert Grafstein, interim dean at the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), will give opening remarks. Former senior U.S. diplomat Earle Scarlett will introduce.

This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 3:30 pm. Copies of Roberts’s book will be available for purchase. For more information, visit the provost office’s UGA Signature Lectures page or the author events page on our website.

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