Sir Rory Stewart Keynotes Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference
Rory Stewart delivered the keynote address at this fall’s Ninth Annual Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference, hosted at Georgetown by the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES). In his speech, Stewart criticized strategies employed by the international community in Afghanistan to promote the country’s development, suggesting a tragic ignorance of the country’s problems and a lack of understanding of Afghan culture.
Rory Stewart is currently the chief executive of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, which has been restoring and developing Murad Khane, an historic district of Kabul, establishing clinics, installing drainage and sewage systems, building roads, and ensuring a supply of clean water. At the request of the community, the organization also opened a primary school, which has been incredibly successful, drawing 165 male and female students during the first hour of its first day. The foundation has also established a school for traditional arts, where men and women are trained in traditional masonry, calligraphy, woodwork, ceramics and miniature painting.
Sir Rory Stewart has served extensively in the British infantry and Foreign Service. In July 2008, he was made Ryan Professor of Human Rights at Harvard and the Director of the Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. His first book, The Places in Between (2004), was a critically-lauded account of his experiences in Afghanistan and a New York Times bestseller which won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, a Scottish Arts Council prize, and the Spirit of Scotland award.