John Stewart Duncan, OBE
Former Governor of the British Virgin Islands
John Stewart Duncan is a British diplomat and a former Governor of the British Virgin Islands.
Early life and education
John Stewart Duncan was born on 17 April 1958 in Dundee, Scotland, and brought up in Kenya, Educated at Wycliffe College (Gloucestershire), Keele University, the Université de Paris, Sorbonne, and the NATO Defence College Rome.
John Duncan was appointed Governor of the British Virgin Islands in June 2013 and took up his post in August 2014. Previously, he was sworn in as Acting Governor of the Falkland Islands on February 27 for a period of approximately two months. John was previously Deputy and then acting Head of the former South Atlantic Dependant Territories and Antarctic Department from 1996-98.
John joined the FCO in 1980, and has served in Paris, Sudan, Brussels, Albania, and Kosovo. He spent ten years in Multilateral Diplomacy, both from London and overseas, covering the development of European Defence and in the operational arm of counter proliferation. From 2006-11 he was British Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament ; a roving ambassador role, based in Geneva and New York covering inter alia the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review process and the negotiation of new treaties e.g. the Oslo Treaty banning Cluster Munitions and the new Arms Trade Treaty.
He has also worked in traditional bilateral diplomacy in Paris and Albania (where in 1992 he set up the first joint Anglo-French Diplomatic Mission). From 2001-2006 he was UK Trade and Investment Director for France based in Paris.
He has extensive experience in crisis management. From 1985-88 he was seconded to the UK’s ODA (now DFID) in Khartoum during the Sudan famine. From 1990-1991 he was Assistant Private Secretary to the Minister for Overseas Development and Africa (Baroness Chalker). From 1998-2001 he was seconded to the NATO military as (UK) International Affairs Advisor to the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Wesley Clark, during the Kosovo conflict. Digital Diplomacy has been a major feature of his professional career- a regular blogger on the FCO site from 2007-11, On Twitter @JDuncanFCO and as an FCO Podcaster on iTunes. In 2011 he was the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative to the London Conference on Cyberspace. He was FCO Director for Communications and Engagement from 2012 - 2013.
His term of office as Governor ended on 8 August 2017.
Honours and awards
He was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1993; the US Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal; and the NATO Kosovo Medal in 2001.