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A tribute to Mr Andrew Henderson UK Ambassador to Algeria 2007 – 2010

Monday - 5 / February / 2018


Distinguished UK Ambassador to Algeria 2007 – 2010, Mr Andrew Henderson died aged 65 on 30th, December 2017.

“A true friend to Algeria”

Paying tribute to Mr Henderson, Lady Olga Maitland, Chairman, Algeria British Business Council says, “Mr Henderson served both Algeria and the United Kingdom with real distinction, flair and affection for the country.   He had a genuine understanding of Algeria, its history and challenges.   

“I observed the huge energy he put into bringing both countries together and he did this with significant success.  As a result the British Embassy flourished and expanded with new office accommodation in the grounds of the Residence, which was opened by H.R.H the Duke of York during an official visit as UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.This was an important step for developing relations between the two countries. H.E. the President Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika hosted the visit and there are fond memories by the Royal Party of a generous lunch they had with him, during which key issues were discussed in an open and friendly manner.   The visit which lasted several days included visits to UK companies including BP and the non energy sector.

“Nothing was too much trouble for Mr Henderson. He travelled all over the country familiarizing himself on culture, customs and traditions, often accompanied by his wife Julia.     He worked extremely hard to foster the growth of UK companies entering Algeria.  For the ABBC it was always a real pleasure to have dealings with him and receive positive encouragement.

“On retirement from the diplomatic service, Mr Henderson picked up the threads and served as a member of the ABBC Advisory Board, urging and encouraging at every turn.   Nothing gave him greater pleasure than to be able to make a return visit as a delegate in the Lord Mayor of London’s delegation in May 2017.   Algeria has lost a very dear, loyal and sympathetic friend who will be much missed by all.”

Tribute from Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Group Head of Public Affairs, HSBC and President of the Algeria British Business Council “

“Andy Henderson was a friend of mine, and a Diplomatic Service colleague for more than 30 years.   And now he is dead, at only 65, taken away by a cruel cancer after just a month, on 30th December last year.

Everyone who knew Andy liked him for his kindness, his humour, his interest in everyone and everything, his modesty, and above all his obvious devotion to his beloved wife Julia and to his two girls, Emma and Amelia.   His popularity was unforced and unsought, and all the more genuine for that.

But everyonewho knew Andy also respected him.  For his judgement, above all, his quiet intelligence, his calm good sense, his courageous unflappability in testing times.  He was a true professional, never forgetting that his job was to support British companies, British citizens, British interests, whatever and wherever they were.   More than most, he had the two essential ingredients of a truly successful diplomat: a sense of proportion, and a sense of humour.

I have so many memories of Andy, all of them happy.   As a young Private Secretary in the Minister of State’s office, working all hours at the centre of the Foreign Office machine. As head of the Foreign Office’s parliamentary relations department, brokering not just how a department often naïve about its own country’s politics answered written and oral parliament quesgions, but also the whole – often tense- relationship between a great department of state and the legislature.

And best of all, four happy years in Washington, DC, working with Andy to overcome a campaign to force American investors to divest from Northern Ireland.    It was a tricky task, explaining to members of Congress, or state legislators from coast to coast, and a suspicious American press, why the fair-sounding MacBride principles would hinder not help Catholic employment in Northern Ireland.   

And Andy, chosen specifically for the job, did it, with dedication and distinction.   In doing so, he made the most unlikely friends in the most unlikely places from Sacramento to South Armagh. He won the respect of adversaries and allies alike, as well as the undying gratitude of Ulsters ministers and officials.  He more than any other individual, turned the MacBride tide.  Nothing was ever too much trouble: drafting at high speed, and with a sure pen, a response for an embattled British Consul General; leaping onto a plane to fly across to America to put out a fire in an obscure sub-committee of a far away state legislature with a vast pension fund to invest; persuading a sceptical Ambassador why Britain had to embrace St Patrick’s Day even more enthusiastically than our opponents.

Sadly, I never worked directly with Andy again.  We just missed each other in Saudi Arabia.  I came to be involved with Britain’s relations with Algeria only after he moved on to Johannesburg.  So I never saw him in action as Head of Mission.    But all who did, speak of Andy the Ambassador, Andy the Consul-General, Andy the Director-General of Trade and 

Investment, with that same mix of profound respect and real warmth that I had felt earlier in his career.

Representing Britain to Algeria, and Algeria to Britain, is never the easiest of diplomatic jobs. But Andy engaged, with enthusiasm and energy, overcoming the challenges to win apporoval and affection of all with whom he dealt.    Even today his legacy lives on in the hearts of his Algerian friends.

Of course, when Andy left the Diplomatic Service he did not retire.  He was soon back at work, promoting financial inclusion across the Africa he had come to know and love, working to suppor the work of our Algeria British Business Council, and generously passing on his insights to others, lincluding most recently the latest ambassador, Barry Lowen.

We caught up, over lunch in the City.  The years fell away. Andy was utterly unchanged. Full of fun, and excitemtn about his new future, Andy wanted to focus on what he would do, not on what he had done.

That was Andy – the best of colleagues, the best of friends, the best of fathers, and the best of partners to Julia, who played such a huge part in his success, and in his happiness.

And that is the real tragedy of Andy’s sudden and early death – the unfulfilled promise of the years ahead.  We console ourselves in the certain knowledge and with many fond memories, of a truly good man and of a truly good life, in every way.”



Contact Us

Algeria British Business Council
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7591 4816
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7591 4810

180 Piccadilly
London, W1J 9HF

ABBC Chairman
Lady Olga Maitland

Tel: +44 207 837 9212
Fax: +44 207 713 0794
Mobile: +44 7778 917 133

21 Cloudesley Street
London, N1 0HX

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