The Rt Hon Lord Owen CH FRCP
David Owen was a Member of Parliament for Plymouth for 26 years from 1966-92. Under Labour Governments, he served as Navy Minister, Health Minister and Foreign Secretary. He was co-founder of the Social Democratic Party and its Leader from 1983-87 and 1988-90. He was created a Life Baron – Lord Owen of the City of Plymouth – in 1992 and sits as an independent social democrat in the House of Lords.
From 1992-95 Lord Owen served as EU peace negotiator in the former Yugoslavia working alongside the UN appointed peace negotiator, Cyrus Vance. Together they co-authored the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
David Owen was educated as a physician at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and St Thomas’s Hospital, London where he was a Neurological and Psychiatric Registrar from 1964 to 1966 and Research Fellow in the Medical Unit from 1966 to 1968. He is an Honorary Fellow of Sidney Sussex College and the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’s and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
In the early 1980s Lord Owen served as the Treasurer of the Palme Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues and was also a member of the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues; Carnegie Commission on Preventing Armed Conflict; and from 1990-2001 Chairman of Humanitas, a charitable organisation dedicated to public education on humanitarian issues. Lord Owen is currently a Director of the Center for International Health and Co-operation which has established an intensive four-week diploma course in International Humanitarian Assistance held annually in Geneva and New York.
Lord Owen was Chancellor of Liverpool University from 1996-2009.
Lord Owen has been associated with several topical campaigns. He was Chairman of New Europe from 1999-2005, a cross party organisation that successfully campaigned against the UK adopting the euro. In January 2010 he helped establish a new website, www.charter2010.co.uk, a forum and information source aimed at planning for a hung parliament. In March 2011 he joined the “No to AV, Yes to PR” campaign. He is Chairman of the Trustees of a newly established charity, the Daedalus Trust, which promotes research into personality changes associated with the exercise of power in all walks of life.
Lord Owen concentrates his main efforts on speaking on international affairs, focusing on his business interests and campaigning to reverse the deeply damaging effects of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. He plays an active role in the Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015: www.nhsbill2015.org. He is currently Chairman of Europe Steel, and consultant to Epion Holdings and USM Holdings. He served as non-executive Director of the US healthcare company, Abbott Laboratories from 1996-2011 and was non-executive Director of Hyperdynamics Corporation from 2009-2014.
He is the author of numerous publications in the field of health and politics including his autobiography, Time to Declare (1991) Balkan Odyssey (1995) and The Hubris Syndrome (2007). He also published in 1992 an anthology of poetry Seven Ages: Poetry for a Lifetime, proceeds of which are donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
In Sickness and In Power (2008) is a unique study of illness in Heads of Government during the last 100 years and considers how illness – both physical and mental – can affect the process of government and decision-making.
In 2009 Liverpool University Press published Lord Owen’s book Nuclear Papers which gives a new insight into the background and arguments around the last major strategic study of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, making available for the first time newly declassified government papers on nuclear weapons. Also in 2009 an updated, abridged version of his autobiography was published by Politico’s entitled Time to Declare: Second Innings. Updated and revised versions of In Sickness and In Power and The Hubris Syndrome were published in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
In 2012 a paperback and ebook entitled “Europe Restructured: The Eurozone Crisis and its Aftermath” was published. This sets out the history of the UK’s equivocal relationship with the European Common Market, European Community and now European Union and suggests a blueprint for the restructuring of Europe to accommodate both those who wish to move towards a more integrated eurozone and those who wish to join members of the European Economic Area in a wider Single Market European Community.
In 2013 Lord Owen edited a book on Bosnia-Herzegovina which highlights the elements of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan which are of continuing relevance in guiding the present political debate of a still deeply divided country. The book releases for the first time fascinating primary source material of the intense international political activity in 1992-93.
In 2014 Lord Owen wrote The Hidden Perspective. The Military Conversations of 1906-1914 (Haus Publishing) in which he argues that the outbreak of war in 1914 was far from inevitable, and instead represented eight years of failed diplomacy. In the same year he released The Health of the Nation in Peril (Methuen) which presents a powerful case for the repeal of the worst aspects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and for the restoration of the NHS to its traditional values.
On 21 January 2015, Lord Owen featured in the “What makes us Human” series hosted by Jeremy Vine on on BBC Radio 2.
To listen to the podcast, please click here: “What makes us Human” interview.
His American wife, Deborah, is a Literary Agent. They have two sons and a daughter.