Our President

Sir Emyr Jones Parry GCMG FInstP PLSW is the President of the Learned Society of Wales (LSW). He began his second three-year term of office as President in May 2017.

Sir Emyr joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1973. During a career in HM Diplomatic Service spanning 34 years, he specialised in multilateral diplomacy and in European Union affairs. He is best known for his final diplomatic posting, that of Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, where he represented the UK in the Security Council for more than 4 years (2003 – 2007). He chaired the Security Council for four terms and negotiated more than 250 Security Council Resolutions.

Previously during his diplomatic career Sir Emyr served as the UK Ambassador to NATO, the FCO Political Director,  and the Director responsible for European Union policy. He served as part of the Presidency team for five of the first six UK Presidencies of the European Community and then European Union.

Prior to taking up his career in the diplomatic service, Sir Emyr was a physicist, gaining his Bachelor’s degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Crystallography at University College Cardiff, where he read Theoretical Physics. He then moved on to Cambridge University (St Catharine’s College), where he worked in the Cavendish Laboratory and gained a PhD in Polymer Physics. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.

Sir Emyr succeeds Sir John Cadogan CBE DSc FRSE FRSC MAE PLSW FRS, who served as the Society’s Inaugural President after its launch in 2010.

A Welsh speaker, Sir Emyr was born in Carmarthenshire in 1947 and attended Gwendraeth Grammar School. Since his retirement from the Diplomatic Service in 2007, Sir Emyr has been committed to giving something back to the country that ‘forged’ him. He was Chair of the All Wales Convention which reported in November 2009 on future powers of the National Assembly for Wales. Between 2008 and 2017, he has served as President and latterly the first Chancellor of Aberystwyth University and as Chair of its Council. He was also Chair of the Wales Millennium Centre 2010-2016, and Chair of REDRESS, an NGO that campaigns against torture, 2008-2016. He is the Honorary President of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs.

Sir Emyr was elected to be a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales in 2013. He is an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff and Aberystwyth Universities, of the University of Wales Trinity St David and of St Catharine’s College Cambridge, and holds the Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Laws of the University of Wales and Doctor of Science of the University of South Wales.