James Robbins

James Robbins

James has chaired The Round Table since June, 2023.

He is also Chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

James was a BBC foreign correspondent for most of his 44-year career. He started as a graduate trainee way back in the late 1970s. He spent four years in Northern Ireland reporting at the height of the Troubles. Later, he and his wife Gillian spent six years in South Africa at the climax of the black struggle against apartheid in the late 1980s. James was there long enough to see Nelson Mandela released from prison, and to be one of the small handful of journalists who were the first to interview him after 27 years in jail.

Since then, he’s also been based in Brussels as Europe Correspondent during the years immediately after the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended.

More recently, as the BBC’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, James led the BBC’s coverage of 911 and its aftermath. He reported from many of the world’s difficult places, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea… but also spent a lot of time at the United Nations in New York observing efforts by different actors to justify war or try to make peace.

He covered most of the Commonwealth Summits since Harare in 1991 and has reported from a majority of Commonwealth countries.

Now he says he’s trying to travel a bit less, and think a bit more about what all that might have taught him. To relax, he likes playing tennis, listening to opera and music, walking, cooking and looking out of train windows.


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