Jeremy Lester has long been involved with development and diplomacy in conflict afflicted countries. He is interested in diaspora and refugee issues, as well as those of justice, development and human security. He is a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and is a trustee of Conciliation Resources, of Saferworld, and of Refugee Action in the UK.
He has been responsible for relations with several African countries, and been EU Head of Delegation in first Rwanda and later Niger. In post genocide Rwanda, he was particularly concerned with restorative justice and reconciliation. His final post in the European Union institutions before retiring was as adviser on Conflict Prevention, Mediation and Peacebuilding in the Africa Department of the European Union External Action Service.
He graduated from Cambridge with a degree in Moral Philosophy and Economics in 1972, and from the University of East Anglia in the following year with an MA in Development Economics and Administration.