Obituary: Professor Maurice Fraser

It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the death on 12thFebruary 2016 of Maurice Fraser who supported the work of the FBC for over fifteen years as a Member and then as a Trustee. He was also Head of the European Institute. His contribution to Franco-British relations cannot be overestimated. He attended the Lycee in London as a child, grew up round the corner from the Residence of the French Ambassador and remained in that area for all of his adult life. With his astute and insightful perspectives on British and European politics  gained through working as special advisor to three successive Foreign Secretaries, he was a valued and trusted advisor to countless French Ambassadors over the years. He was intensely pro European and I last saw him at an event at the Italian Embassy where he was awarded the Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia in recognition of his contribution to European political life. He is shown here with the Italian Ambassador, Pasquale Terracciano. The French government had already honoured him with the Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur in 2008. 

Despite his busy life, Maurice was always ready to drop what he was doing and provide endless advice on guidance on the right speaker for a seminar or the most effective approach to potential funders. He also encouraged and promoted links between the FBC and the European Institute at the LSE providing venues for very successful debates such as the TTIP debate with Pascal Lamy in 2014.

The death of Maurice leaves a gaping hole in the FBC and we will miss him deeply. The family is planning a large memorial service for him in a couple of months so please contact the office if you wish to be kept informed.  For those who wish to do so, the family are inviting donations to the Brain Tumour Charity, in lieu of flowers and in his name- it's www.justgiving.com/mauricefraser .

Remembering Maurice by former FBC Vice Chair, Dr Anne Corbett

I think of Maurice as the focal point of any room. There was the style. Perhaps because I first got to know him when I was vice chair of the Franco British Council,I always saw him as ‘le gentleman anglais’ as understood by a Frenchman or a Continental: the cravats, the suede weskits, the flowing cashmere scarves, all more exotic than your modern-day English gent. And then there was the voice. In dulcet tones he’d make the most outrageous party political points round a table where the rest of us were cross- party or non-party. But he’d either win us round or inspire us to greater efforts. As an intellectual with such a solid political philosophy underpinning, and as a skilled rhetorician, he set high standards of argument.

Of his many marks on LSE, at the European Institute and more widely across the School I pick out just one. It was the way he turned the LSE public lecture series into a rivetting example of how to display the intellectual resources of a modern university in a way which enriches public life in general. The title of Professor in Practice is not always appreciated in academia. But Maurice I believe exemplified in a visionary way, why universities should create such posts.

His death at the moment that Britain is in an existential struggle over its place in Europe heightens the sense of tragedy that he should go now. It is yet another reason for those who have always seen themselves as Europeans to mourn his loss.


Below are other tributes from the LSE

Professor Maurice Fraser

It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the death on 12thFebruary 2016 of Maurice Fraser, former Head of the European Institute.

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A personal message from Professor Craig Calhoun, President and Director of LSE:

“Maurice Fraser was a friend of LSE from his days as a student through his career in public life to his return as a distinguished leader in the European Institute. Charming, gracious, and a witty conversationalist he brought wide and practical knowledge to the School. He will be sorely missed, not least in the context of the current debates over Europe, on which an LSE Commission he helped found will soon report.”

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A personal message from Professor Kevin Featherstone, Head of the European Institute:

"Maurice’s ties to the School stretch over a long period: having been an undergraduate in Government, he returned after 1995 to teach in what was then the new European Institute.  He became Head of the European Institute in 2013, but was obliged to step down in December 2015 owing to ill-health.  Maurice was Professor in Practice, having served as special advisor to three successive British foreign secretaries during the tumultuous historical period of 1989-1995, amongst other posts.  Maurice had wide professional experience, being a member/ trustee/ chair of a range of public bodies.  Of special importance to him was his work on Europe and, in particular, Anglo-French relations.  He had been educated at the Lycee Francais de Londres and he became Vice-Chair of the Franco-British Council and a contributing editor to ‘Valeurs Actuelles’, a French weekly.  At LSE, he was the Programme Director for the European Institute’s double Masters’ degree with Sciences-Po.  He was made Chevalier de la Legion d' honneur in 2008 and Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia in 2015.  Maurice was the long-term Director of the LSE’s public lecture series on Europe, utilising his extensive professional experience and contacts to make the School the premier UK platform for public debate on Europe.  He was a devoted teacher and was inspired to help bridge the gap between the practical world of policy-making and that of academe for successive generations of the European Institute’s students.

 

Maurice was widely liked and admired, by both staff and students and across public life.  He was very well-read and had a range of intellectual interests.  Discussion with him was often stimulating, sometimes maddening, but always courteous and fun.  He was a supportive and respectful colleague and he loved LSE.  Latterly, he gave everything to the European Institute – endeavouring to carry on as Head, despite his physical and mental deterioration and amidst much stress.  It had been his dearest wish to attend last December’s Graduation Ceremony to announce the names of his beloved graduands, but alas this was already not feasible for him.  His family background and his professional experience made Maurice a committed and life-long ‘European’ in his political orientation.  His legacy of service to LSE will ensure that he always remain a cherished part of the European Institute community.  We will all miss him terribly.

The EI has received many, many warm personal messages of sympathy from his friends – from across British and European academic and public life – and these reflect Maurice’s character and stature.  Maurice’s family are inviting donations to the Brain Tumour Charity, in lieu of flowers and in his name: the link is www.justgiving.com/mauricefraser  .

Our thoughts and prayers are with Maurice’s family.

 

 

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