MP Rory Stewart to speak on Afghanistan

Newly elected MP Rory Stewart OBE is to speak at Aberdeen University.

Stewart, who served briefly as an officer in the British Army (the Black Watch), and was educated at Balliol College, Oxford joined the British Diplomatic Service, and has served in the British Embassy in Indonesia and, in the wake of the Kosovo campaign, as the British Representative in Montenegro.

Amongst his many achievements, he is best known for his 6,000 mile solus walk across Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Nepal. His walk across Afghanistan shortly after the US invasion is described in his award winning book, The Places in Between, a New York Times bestseller, which has been translated into ten languages. In 2003, he became coalition Deputy Governor of two provinces in the Marsh Arab region of Southern Iraq (Maysan and Dhi Qar). His second book, The Prince of the Marshes and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq, outlines his experiences as deputy governor shortly after coalition forces entered Iraq, and describes his efforts to lead development projects and establish a functional government.

He lived in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2006-2008, where he was the founder and Chief Executive of Turquoise Mountain, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation investing in the development of Afghanistan’s traditional crafts and the rehabilitation of the commercial heart of the old city of Kabul in order to preserve cultural heritage, improve living conditions and create economic opportunities. It is this innovative and unique project that brings him to Aberdeen as a guest of the Scottish Traditional Skills Training Centre. He has won a number of international awards for his writing, including from the Royal Society of Literature Oondaatje award (2004) to the Radio France award (2009) and has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Stirling.

In 2004, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire and became a Fellow of the Carr Centre at Harvard University. Rory was appointed to a professorial chair at Harvard University as the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights on 1st January 2009 and became Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. In January 2010 Rory presented a two part series on “The Legacy of Lawrence of Arabia” on BBC2 TV. He was elected as Member of the Westminster Parliament for Penrith and the Border on 6th May 2010. His lecture Culture, Conservation and Conflict - Afghanistan taek palce on Saturday 22nd May at 7.30pm at the University of Aberdeen’s New Kings 6 Lecture Theatre in Old Aberdeen.

Admission: Free