Paul Rennie OBE

Director for Diplomacy 20:20, Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Paul Rennie is the Director for Diplomacy 20:20, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s strategic transformation programme to deliver 21st century foreign policy.

Paul was born in Edinburgh and educated at George Heriot’s School, before going on to graduate with an MA in Economics & Politics (Edinburgh University) and an MSc in Economics (York University).

He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2001 as the first of a new group of Diplomatic Service Economists. He has served in New York (United Nations), Brazil and India, as well as working on secondment to the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Development. Most recently he was Deputy High Commissioner in Malaysia where he also led on Education Strategy for South East Asia.

Paul is a professional economist, with a particular expertise the analysis of emerging markets. He has also worked with leading education providers from across the world and presented on the future of education at several international conferences. In 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Heriot-Watt University in recognition of his ‘expertise and contributions to the development and strategic positioning of UK education overseas’.

He was appointed Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2015 New Year’s Honours List for services to UK-India relations.

Away from work and family, Paul writes blogs on leadership, plays tennis when he can (British weather permitting!), and tries to read as many history and politics books as his spare time will allow. He speaks English, Portuguese, Dutch, French and Hindi.