Fife woman 'very surprised' to be awarded OBE in overseas Birthday Honours List

Alison got an OBE - as did one of her cousins.Alison got an OBE - as did one of her cousins.
Alison got an OBE - as did one of her cousins.
A St Andrews woman has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Overseas and International List 2021.

Alison Daniels, now based in London, said she was ‘very surprised’ to learn that she was to be awarded an OBE recognising her services to British foreign policy.

Alison is a deputy director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

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"I’ve worked there for 12 years and led on digital communications and digital services,” she explained. “Last year during the pandemic the Foreign Office mobilised its biggest ever crisis communications response to help nearly 40,000 stranded people get home and I was involved in the communications and development of services to support this unprecedented effort.

"I was really lucky to have a job that helped protect people and reunite them with their families.

"So really I was very surprised to find out I’d received this award. I was really pleased but of course everything is a team effort and I am lucky to work with lots of motivated talented people.”

Alison grew up in St Andrews – going to Canongate Primary and then Madras College – and moved to London around 20 years ago, although she often returns to her hometown.

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She said she has ‘happy memories’ of her time at Canongate, but said her time at Madras helped prepare her for her career.

"At Madras my favourite subject was history,” she explained.

"We studied Scottish history and also some world history. History can be quite subjective so it teaches you (or should do) to question events and understand the present.

"It also showed me how intrepid the Scots are going out across the world and contributing to every sphere of life. That sparked my interest in all things international and before working at the FCDO I worked for an international news network.”

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Amazingly, Alison was not even the only one in her family to get an honour in the list.

She celebrated the announcement with her family (including her two kids, one of whom came home from Manchester University) and her cousins – one of whom was also awarded an OBE for his charity work in prisons.

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