Sir Christopher Hum

Former Ambassador & College Head

Biography

After school in Hertfordshire I studied modern languages at Cambridge University, and from there joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. During my time as a diplomat my overseas postings included Hong Kong, Beijing, the European Communities in Brussels, Paris, the United Nations in New York and Warsaw. My career centred in particular on East Asia: I studied Chinese at Hong Kong University and in all spent 18 years working in or on China, ending as British Ambassador there from 2002 to 2005. I was much involved in negotiating the return of Hong Kong to China in the 1980s and 1990s.

On my retirement from the FCO I was elected Master of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge and spent seven years there until 2012, heading the College and taking on a number of responsibilities for governance within the University. A particular concern of mine while I was at the College was broadening its intake to reflect better the educational and social mix of the British school population. I have held a number of positions, I was informally involved in teaching on contemporary China, and still continue to act as a speaker, adviser and commentator on Chinese affairs. I hold a number of non-executive positions in business and the not for profit sector, mainly with a China connection.

I am just completing a Master’s degree in East Asian art at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. My other interests include the arts (music, opera, the theatre) and mountain walking.