Events & Speakers | Posted 23.11.2016

Robert Brinkley C.M.G. OS and his memories of the Cold War

This week we were delighted to welcome Robert Brinkley OS with a talk entitled, ‘Memories of the Cold War’.  Robert worked as a British Diplomat for 34 years and served as British Ambassador to the Ukraine from 2002-2006 and High Commissioner to Pakistan from 2006-2009.  He has had three sons educated at the College: Andrew, Francis, and Mark.  His wife Mary is a former Stonyhurst Governor and he himself will be the next President of the Stonyhurst Association.

In an engaging presentation to another large audience with a wide range of ages, we were given insights into the state of affairs which characterised the balance of power in the world between 1945 and 1990, in particular the delicate relationship between Western Capitalism and Eastern Communism.  Robert shared some interesting and humorous anecdotes about his life as a British Diplomat in Moscow in the early 1980s. We were told how Russians used vodka for screenwash and what Soviet Secret Service agents would leave behind in the flats of junior embassy staff when they were regularly burgled as a form of mild but sinister harassment.

Beneath the humour and the anecdotes was a deep and perceptive understanding of the nature and philosophy of the Soviet Regime.  It was with some seriousness that we were reminded of the fine line between peace and war both in those times and the world of today.  This was brought home to us by a description of the readiness for action of Eastern Bloc military units in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This was a wonderful talk offering much wisdom about the end of one epoch in history as well as much food for thought as we enter into another.  We are grateful to Robert Brinkley for his talk and wish him well in his new role in the Stonyhurst Association.

(The middle photograph shows the boys holding pieces of the Berlin Wall)