We were sorry to hear news of the death of Sir Crispin Tickell, Chancellor of the University of Kent from 1996-2006.
Sir Crispin was a career diplomat. He advised four prime ministers and, as cited in his Guardian obituary, had formidable intellect and displayed impeccable timing when intervening in policy.
In a long career, he had often found himself in the right place at the right time. In 1956, as a junior Foreign Office official, he dispatched a Royal Navy destroyer to deter a threatened Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands, an intervention that was successful.
He was involved in many negotiations on behalf of the British government, from arms control with the Russians, to entry talks to the European Community in 1972. But perhaps his greatest contribution to forming policy was on the environment. He argued for mandatory international pollution control, something that is finally taking shape.
In 1977, while taking a sabbatical at Harvard he wrote Climatic Change and World Affairs, one of the first, and for at least a decade, the only book on the coming climate crisis, and what governments should do to prevent it.
Sir Crispin’s final diplomatic post was as British ambassador to the United Nations and permanent representative on the UN Security Council from 1987 until 1990. It was in this post that he played an active part in the talks to end the Iran/Iraq war.
Following “retirement”, Sir Crispin chaired Major’s government panel on Sustainable Development from 1994 until 2000 and was a member of two Labour government taskforces. He was warden of Green College, Oxford from 1990 to 1997 and Chancellor of the University of Kent from 1996 to 2006. He was also president of the Royal Geographical Society (1990-93) and the Marine Biological Society (1990-2001).