Candidate Profile

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EXPERTISE
History - General
History - Maritime
Politics & Current Affairs
World Affairs
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH:
BIOGRAPHY
Tom Macan is a retired British Diplomatic Service Officer with extensive experience of western and central Europe, the Caribbean, South Asia and the Portuguese-speaking world. His final post was that of Governor of the British Virgin Islands, having previously been Ambassador to Lithuania and Deputy High Commissioner to India.

Previous overseas jobs included a total of eight years in Germany (five of them as Press Secretary), and four-year stints in both Brazil and Portugal, the last as No 2 in the Embassy. In three postings in the Foreign Office in London, he headed the Training and Commonwealth Departments, and earlier had responsibility for maritime and environment issues and for aspects of policy towards the United Nations.

He now lives in his native Lake District where he is a qualified Blue Badge Guide for Cumbria. He has a passion for anything that floats on water – particularly maritime history, sailing (he holds a Coastal Skipper certificate) and above all steam-powered craft. His other interests include history and geography of the Lake District, church architecture, hill walking, public administration and local/regional government issues. He is a keen driver and long-time member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

He is married to Janet, a US citizen (they met in Brazil in the 1970s) and they have two adult children.
TALK TITLES
BALTIC SEA CRUISES

1. THE BALTIC SEA: HISTORIC HIGHWAY
The Vikings and the Hanseatic League traded across the Baltic Sea from the Crimea to the British Isles; the European powers fought across it. In the 1990s, the Soviet Union’s disappearance changed everything : eight out of the ten Baltic Sea states are members of the European Union but tensions remain with Russia.

2. THE THREE BALTIC STATES: FREEDOM REGAINED BUT NOW AT RISK?
In 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regained their pre-war independence. They are now committed members of the EU and NATO and use the Euro. Three proud nations with different earlier histories, now sharing the challenge of living alongside an increasingly aggressive Russia.

3. FROM THE BALTIC TO THE BLACK SEA: THE COMMONWEALTH OF POLAND/LITHUANIA
The medieval Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) was the biggest “country” in Europe. It marked the border between Catholic “West” and Orthodox “East”. By 1794, it had disappeared from the map. An analysis of this rise and fall is relevant to its 21st century legacy being played out in Ukraine today.

4. BERLIN: CITY REUNITED
Until 1990, Berlin was a potential Cold War flash-point. From the 1948 airlift to the 1971 Quadripartite Agreement and beyond, the three Allies (US, UK and France) played a major role in its defence and its prosperity. A look back at this period, and how the city has changed since.

5. VISITORS TO THE LAKE DISTRICT: FROM VIKING INVADERS TO 21ST CENTURY TOURISTS
Over 1,000 years ago, Viking (Danish) invaders travelled to Britain and their traces still abound, particularly in the North West. Centuries later, Wordsworth and his friends taught people to see an “enchanting and picturesque landscape”. What is this legacy today?

PORTUGAL/MADEIRA/AZORES CRUISES

1. PORTUGAL AND BRITAIN: THE OLDEST ALLIANCE
The Treaty of Windsor (1387) has been invoked by both sides over 500 years, not always successfully. An assessment of the ups and downs of this relationship from Philippa of Lancaster’s marriage in the 14th century through the port-wine trade to the use of the Azores in World War II, and its continued relevance today.

2. PORTUGAL'S GLOBAL REACH: THE STORY OF HER NAVIGATORS AND HER EMPIRE
Portugal, led by Prince Henry the Navigator, was the pioneer of the 15th century sea-borne exploration. At its zenith, her Empire stretched from Brazil to India and China. Ultimately it was the burden of that Empire which brought about the 1974 revolution: on the basis of years of experience of Portugal and Brazil, this talk looks at the rise and fall of that Empire and its impact on history.

3. ANY PORT IN A STORM?
Two fortified wines - Port and Madeira - are Portugal's unique contribution to the world of alcoholic drinks. British families have been much involved in their development and Britain has been a crucial market. This talk traces the history of Portugal's wine industry over three centuries and looks forward to enjoying the product once we get there.

4. WELLINGTON AND THE PENINSULAR WAR
The campaign which saw final victory at Waterloo started with a sea-borne landing on the coast of Portugal. Wellington, always know locally by his Portuguese title "Marquess of Douro", had the greatest admiration for the tough Portuguese soldiers who fought in his army and this talk follows the progress of the campaign across the Iberian Peninsular.

SOUTH AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN CRUISES

1. GOVERNING PARADISE?
The challenges - the highs and lows - of three and a half years governing the British Virgin Islands. The UK still has responsibility for five Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and others elsewhere. They may not cost much, but there are risks. What are the UK’s long-term interests?

2. BRITAIN AND THE CARIBBEAN ACROSS FOUR CENTURIES
Vast fortunes were made and lost in the Caribbean; trade and slavery had a huge impact on cities as diverse as Liverpool, Bristol and Whitehaven; the consequences of post-war migration have been significant for both sides: a look at the historical background and the relationship today.

3. EMPIRES OF THE CARIBBEAN: FRANCE, SPAIN AND BRITAIN BATTLE IT OUT
A look at the history and development of the Caribbean: who were the Caribs; why are most of the place-names Spanish; why was slavery so important; how did the French and the British get involved; what brought about the end of the colonial Empires; and what does it all look like today?

4. THE CARIBBEAN: UNCLE SAM’S BACKYARD?
The US is the giant in the region. Though formally opposed to the colonial regimes, it acquired and still has Territories in the region and at one stage called most of the shots. It remains concerned about Caribbean stability but its principal involvement is trying to stem the flow of drugs.

5. BRAZIL: THE COLONY THAT TURNED INTO AN EMPIRE
The Portuguese were on their way to India in 1500 when they discovered Brazil, but it became the source of untold riches for the mother country. In 1824 it declared itself independent as the “Empire of Brazil”. 500 years of history lie behind today’s economic giant and would-be global player.

6. BRAZIL: 21ST CENTURY ASPIRATIONS AND REALITIES.
Brazil’s 20th century roller-coaster ride included two strong-men Presidents, two military coups, vertiginous growth but also near-bankruptcy, and a new capital. 2014 saw her hosting the BRICS group of powerful, emerging economies: she’s now mired in recession with the President facing impeachment. Does Brazil have that great future which is always promised?

7. MAN AND THE AMAZON: WHO’S WINNING?
The steamboat allowed man to start exploiting the Amazon in the 19th century. Rubber, logging, agriculture, mineral extraction and light industry have shown variable success. But the environmental costs have been huge. As we begin to understand the global implications, can sustainable development be achieved and, more importantly, enforced?

8. ADMIRAL LORD COCHRANE
Successful Royal Navy officer, radical politician, ruined and hounded from society, escapee from the King’s Bench Prison, commander of the navies of Brazil, Chile and Greece, laid to rest in Westminster Abbey: Admiral Cochrane’s career was truly a roller-coaster. Known as “The Devil’s Admiral”, he played a key role on the independence movements in South America where he is remembered to this day. Other politicians may have “called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old: Cochrane actually did something about it.

WESTERN EUROPE CRUISES

1. OLD WORLD TO NEW WORLD: IBERIA'S EXPLORERS AND THEIR LEGACY TODAY.
Explorers from Portugal and Spain redrew the world map in the 15th and 16th centuries. Who were they and what drove them? What legacy in buildings, works of art, nations and political systems have they handed down to us?

2. WELLINGTON AND THE PENINSULAR WAR: FROM LISBON TO WATERLOO
The Duke of Wellington landed in Portugal and over six years fought his way across Spain and France to Waterloo, There his victory over Napoleon changed the course of European history. His relationships with Spanish counterparts were difficult but he admired the tough Portuguese soldiers in his army.

GENERAL TOPICS

1. STEAM LAUNCHES: ENGINES OF EMPIRE AND RICH MEN'S TOYS
The “African Queen” Is perhaps the best-known steam launch of all time. But British yards built thousands like her and shipped them to India, Africa and South America. At the same time, they built increasingly luxurious (and/or fast) launches for wealthy individuals until the emergence of reliable petrol engines pushed development in a different direction. A present-day steamboater takes a look at this flowering of British engineering.

2. FROM SAIL TO COAL: STEAM POWER AT SEA
How steam power replaced sail and brought about a revolution in sea travel. A look at how technical improvements allowed larger, faster and more reliable ships, culminating with the cruise ships we know today.

3. THE LAKE DISTRICT: HOW POETS OPENED OUR EYES
Three hundred years again, the Lake District was seen as a “horrid” and frightening place. Wordsworth and his friends taught people to see an enchanting and picturesque landscape. But might they be frightened by the subsequent changes that visitors have brought about? A look at developments over the years through the eyes of a Cumbria Blue Badge Guide.
CRUISE HISTORY / EXPERIENCE
No Cruise Experience details provided.
RECENT PAST CRUISES COMPLETED
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
SHIP REF CRUISE DESCRIPTION NIGHTS SAILING FROM DEPARTURE DATE
Viking Orion OR180923 Southeast Asia and Hong Kong 14 Bangkok (from Laem Chabang) Sunday, September 23, 2018
Viking Orion OR180908 Across the Bay of Bengal 15 Mumbai Saturday, September 8, 2018
Viking Sea SE171216 From the Caribbean to the Amazon 21 San Juan Saturday, December 16, 2017
Viking Star ST161107 West Indies Explorer 10 San Juan Monday, November 7, 2016
Saga Sapphire SA304 Best of the Baltic 15 Dover Thursday, September 8, 2016
Viking Star ST150725 Viking Homelands 14 Stockholm Saturday, July 25, 2015
Crystal Serenity V5307 Carnival Rythms & Tropical Sands 16 Rio de Janeiro Saturday, April 18, 2015