A bit of background in case you are interested:-
I am Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. From December 2003 until August 2015 I was Secretary General of International Alert, the London-based international peacebuilding organisation. And from 2013 till 2017 I was also a part-time Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manchester, where I was affiliated with the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute.
Before International Alert, I was Director of the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) from 1993 to 2001. I have written books, articles and reports about conflict, peace, security and international politics for 40-plus years and I have worked with divided communities so they could try to enhance their prospects for peaceful relations. I was a member of the UN Peacebuilding Fund‘s Advisory Group from 2007 through 2011, and chair of it in 2010 and 2011.
If you really, really want to know more, PRIO has been interviewing folk from its past and present; my successor as Director, Stein Tønnesson, did a humungous interview of me, which they have now posted online.
I am British, a Londoner by nature but, these days, living in the most London-like part of Stockholm I could find (that’s to say, Södermalm – and what a great area it is). I am of the baby boom generation and, like a reported three-quarters of boomers, I fondly think I look younger than the rest of that generation. You be the judge:
In July 2009 I started out on what a friend called Fatherhood v2.0.It’s one reason why there are intermittent silences on this blog (my verbosity is another – if I were to write shorter blogs, I’d probably write more of them). In addition, in August 2014 I became a grandfather. And then in February 2015 I became a grandfather again (if you see what I mean) and again in July 2016.
So: sorry about the blog but from time to time (like every week) there is a bigger priority.
And by the way, thanks for asking: while grappling with the realities of parenthood with dodgy knees and uncertain about my future as a septuagenarian father of a teenager, I am still loving Fatherhood v2.0.
The picture at the top of the page is of the main reading room in the Library of Alexandria. Here’s another.
It’s the modern one, obviously, not the ancient one that was founded about 283 BCE and whose destruction remains an unsolved mystery. The building is beautiful and the institution and the way it is run reflect an inclusive, reflective idea about education, learning and civilisation. The more I learned about Egypt under Mubarak, the more extraordinary it seems to me that the library could be founded and run in the way that it was. In the events that overthrew Mubarak in February 2011, the Library emerged unscathed.
In whatever future unfolds for Egypt now, the survival of the Library of Alexandria may be a useful litmus test of freedoms and values in the country.
Visit it if ever you have an opportunity – it really is wonderful.
(Updated September 2020)