Lord Paddy Ashdown was the leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999. Prior to this he was the Liberal spokesman on Trade and Industry Affairs (1983-86), and Education spokesman (1987-88). He is currently President of UNICEF UK, a position which he has held since 2009.
Before entering politics, Lord Ashdown served in the Royal Marines from 1959 to 1972. During this time he saw action as a Commando Officer in Borneo and the Persian Gulf. He also commanded a Special Boat Section in the Far East and became fluent in Mandarin.
As a former diplomat who served in the British Mission to the UN (1972-76), Lord Ashdown is an expert on foreign affairs. In the 1990s, he was a strong advocate of decisive international action in the conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina, arguing that this would help bring the conflict to an early close. He became the EU High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002-06) and appeared for the prosecution in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Lord Ashdown is also the author of 8 books – “A Brilliant Little Operation” (Aurum Press, 2012), focused on the Cockleshell Heroes raid on Bordeaux and was the winner of the British Army Military History prize and the Royal marines History prize for 2013. His latest book, “The Cruel Victory” (Collins, 2014), is about the French Resistance on D-Day.
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