Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My Kind of Guy
I have recently acquired a new hero in my pantheon: Rory Stewart. He was born in Hong Kong in 1973; his father was a diplomat, his mother an academic. He mostly grew up in Malaysia, where he and his father would encounter tigers on their camping trips. Stewart attended Eton, served as an officer in the Black Watch, and then studied history, politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford, where he also tutored Princes William and Harry. He joined the Foreign Office and was posted to Indonesia for two years and then to Montenegro. However, a short while later he decided to take an 18 month sabbatical and walk across Asia. (Well, Turkey to Bangladesh. Close enough.) This provided the material for his first book, The Places in Between. He then returned to the Foreign Office and, at the age of 30, became acting governor of an Iraqi province, providing the material for his second book, The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq. Back in Afghanistan, he founded The Turquoise Mountain Foundation, a non-profit organization which seeks to foster traditional Afghan craft as a means of economic and social regeneration. He has been teaching at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard since 2008 and is the Director of the School's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. He is 38 years old.
I first came across this interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, but I couldn't figure out how to embed it. The one below is perhaps even better: