Rory Stewart OBE was educated at Balliol
College, Oxford, studying history and PPE (Politics, Philosophy and
Economics). He joined the British Diplomatic Service, and served in the
British Embassy in Indonesia and, in the wake of the Kosovo campaign, as
the British Representative in Montenegro.
From 2000-2002 he walked on foot across Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan,
India and Nepal, a journey of 6000 miles. 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, translated into ten
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.
Rory has written for a range of publications and has won a number of
international awards for his writing, including from the Royal Society
of Literature Ondaatje award (2004) to the Radio France award (2009). He
has also 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 lived in Kabul 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.
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. He was elected as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Penrith and the Border by an open-primary meeting (open to all registered voters, regardless of party) in October 2009. He was elected as Member of Parliament on 6th May 2010.