Retired diplomat, former British High Commissioner
to Sierra Leone
Before his retirement
in January 2002 Peter Penfold was a member of the British Diplomatic
Service for 38 years, most of which time was spent serving in,
or in contact with, Africa and the Caribbean (especially Commonwealth
countries), covering all aspects of diplomatic life. He was responsible
for advising and implementing policy on relations with Africa
and the Caribbean, including conflict prevention/resolution the
administration of Britain's overseas territories, and combating
the drugs problem. He served in various "hotspots" around
the world, witnessing several coups, insurrections, civil wars,
kidnappings and hurricanes, and oversaw several successful evacuations
of the British and international communities. He was awarded the
CMG (1995) and OBE (1986).
British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone.
He was closely identified with the country's
attempts to embrace democracy and achieve stability and lasting
peace. His experiences brought him into face to face negotiations
with rebels and close contact with local and international humanitarian
and emergency agencies. He worked closely with the United Nations,
with members of the international community, and with British
and African military forces. Twice evacuated, he spent 10 months
running his mission from a hotel room in neighbouring Guinea.
In recognition of his efforts he was appointed a Paramount Chief
by the Sierra Leone people and made a Freeman of the city of Freetown.