Former British Ambassador Donald Lamont is to become the new Chairman of the Trust replacing Philippa Foster Back OBE who retires having served as Trustee since 2000 and Chairman for the past seven years.
Donald Lamont has extensive knowledge of British Antarctic affairs, having served as Governor of the Falkland Islands and Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands from 1999-2002. He has been a Trustee of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust since 2008.
Born in Aberdeen, Donald attended Aberdeen Grammar School and in 1970 graduated MA (Hons Russian Studies) from Aberdeen University. After four years in the motor industry, Donald was appointed to HM Diplomatic Service in 1974, serving in Vienna, Moscow, Berlin (through the fall of the Wall) and Sarajevo (with the Office of the High Representative). He served as Ambassador to Uruguay from 1991-1994 and as Ambassador to Venezuela from 2003-2006. After retirement from the Diplomatic Service he was Chief Executive of Wilton Park from 2007-2009.
Donald’s other current activities include: Founding Board Member of ‘Sistema Scotland’ (applying in Scotland the Venezuelan system of teaching classical orchestral music to children from deprived areas); Trustee of ‘Enable Me’ (a disability awareness charity based in Sussex); Deputy Chairman of the British Uruguayan Society; Chairman of Friends of the Falkland Islands Museum and the Jane Cameron National Archive; Governor of Steyning Grammar School; Member of the Shadow Board of Sussex Arts Academy. Donald lives in Sussex with his wife Lynda and they have two children – Louise and Ian.
Philippa Foster Back, whose grandfather Professor Frank Debenham was a geologist on Captain Scott’s expedition to Antarctica in 1910, and Founder Director in 1920 of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, says “It has been an enormous privilege to serve as Chair of the UKAHT. The Trust operates at the forefront of Antarctic affairs and carries out vital work to safeguard historic buildings in Antarctica for future generations. Antarctica is now a continent of increasing global interest and importance and there has never been a better time to tell the story of Britain’s long and distinguished Antarctic endeavour”.
Donald Lamont said “I am honoured to follow Philippa as Chairman of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. Following in the footsteps of her distinguished predecessors, Philippa has guided the Trust through a period of exciting growth and diversification in its activities. I feel privileged to serve as Chairman of a Trust that enjoys such a strong reputation within the Antarctic community in the UK and overseas”.
Rachel Morgan, Director of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, says “We are delighted to welcome Donald as Chairman and look forward to his leadership over the coming years, in particular as we prepare for the centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s heroic expedition of 1914-17 – an important milestone in British Antarctic history. Donald has a strong understanding of the Antarctic community and its needs and brings with him a wealth of international experience which will benefit the Trust as we seek to expand our outreach activity abroad”.