Sherard Cowper-Coles is a diplomat and writer. He was born in Kent and educated at New Beacon School, Tonbridge School and Hertford College, Oxford where he read Classics. He entered the Foreign Office in 1977, where he enjoyed a 30-year career, holding a string of high-profile diplomat stations both overseas and in the UK. From 2009 to 2010 he was the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. A respected authority on foreign affairs in the UK, his overseas postings also included Beirut, Alexandria and Cairo, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Washington, Paris and Pakistan. He is the author of two books: Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign and Ever the Diplomat: Confessions of a Foreign Office Mandarin. Sherard is now BAE Systems’ international business development director, focusing on the Middle East and south-east Asia.