Academic, Politician & Diplomat
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Before serving as a cabinet minister and making a widely-praised contribution to the Conservative Party leadership contest, Rory governed two Iraqi provinces, set up a charity, trekked across Afghanistan, and lectured at Harvard. Together with Alastair Campbell, he hosts the podcasts The Rest is Politics and Leading.
Rory Stewart has been an academic, writer, adventurer, politician, and diplomat. After time in the Army and the diplomatic service, he trekked across Afghanistan, was appointed a fellow at Harvard, and wrote a number of books before entering Parliament, where he served as a Minister and ran for Party Leader. He now co-hosts The Rest is Politics with Alastair Campbell, where, together, they disagree agreeably on global politics and the inner workings of Parliament from across the political divide. They also co-host the podcast Leading, where they interrogate, converse with, and interview some of the world's biggest names, from inside and outside of politics, about life, leadership, or leading the way in their chosen field.
After University, Rory served briefly as an Army officer before joining the Diplomatic Service with posts in Indonesia and as the British Representative in Montenegro in the wake of the Kosovo conflict. He then spent two years walking six thousand miles across rural 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.
Rory was then appointed Deputy Governor of two provinces (Maysan and Dhi Qar) in Southern Iraq. His responsibilities included organising elections, resolving disputes, and implementing development projects. He also met growing civil discontentment with the allied occupation and faced a siege of his compound. His experiences in Iraq were documented in his book, The Prince of the Marshes - And Other Occupational Hazards of A Year in Iraq.
Having established a charity in Kabul and worked as a Professor of Human Rights at Harvard, Rory returned to the UK where he was elected as an MP. In Parliament he chaired the Defence Select Committee and held ministerial posts responsible for international development and prisons, before becoming Secretary of State for International Development. When Theresa May resigned as Prime Minister, Rory entered the race to succeed her, gaining unexpected levels of support within the party, and winning over many non-Conservatives with his common sense, conciliatory tone.
He is also the co-author of Can Intervention Work? which examines the effects of political and military intervention on international affairs, human rights and how we understand nation building. In his memoir Politics On the Edge: A Memoir from Within, Rory reveals the challenges, absurdities and realities of political life.
Rory is president of GiveDirectly, a nonprofit that lets donors send money directly to the world’s poorest households. The organisation has operations in DRC, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Turkey, Uganda, USA, and Yemen.
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