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Dame Margaret Anstee DCMG

A Survivor’s Tale - My Life and Times in the United Nations

The Story of the First Female Under-Secretary General

Dame Margaret Anstee lives about five miles from Huntington, at Knill.  She gained a Double First in languages at Cambridge University, just after the war.  Her maternal roots are in the Welsh Marches, where her mother was born and where she spent her childhood holidays.

She has had a peripatetic life, pioneering the access of women to senior professional positions previously exclusively in the domain of men, both nationally and internationally. She was one of the tiny group of women admitted to the British Foreign Service when it was first opened to women. Later she worked for the United Nations for over 40 years, rising to become the first female Under Secretary General. She then became the first woman to head a UN military peacekeeping force.

She lived in a dozen countries and visited over 130 on official missions. Along the way she had many adventures and was the last person to see Donald Maclean on the night he defected to the Soviet Union in May 1951.  

She will give us a fascinating talk on her extraordinary life from her early days in Herefordshire to the present and will intersperse anecdotes of her experiences with reflections on the evolution and present status of the United Nations. Her autobiography, ‘Never Learn to Type’ explains her four decades with the UN and signed books will be available for sale afterwards. 

We are delighted to have her as a speaker for St. Thomas a Becket Church.  There will be wine and canapés after the talk. 

Dame Margaret Anstee

Dame Margaret Anstee