Presenter and speaker, Rory Stewart, has been an academic, writer, adventurer, politician, and diplomat.
Following serving 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. He was a cabinet minister before his bid for the Conservative Party leadership, an often-heated contest to which he introduced a more moderate, progressive tone.
After university (during which time he was a summer tutor to Princes William and Harry) 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. His latest book, Politics on the Edge, was published in 2023.
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. Rory’s experiences in Iraq were covered 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.
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.
He has since teamed up with the former Labour strategist and communications director Alastair Campbell for the UK’s leading podcast, The Rest is Politics where, together, they disagree agreeably on global politics and the inner workings of Parliament from across the political divide. They also host the podcast Leading, and 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.
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 incisive memoir Politics On the Edge: A Memoir from Within, published in 2023, Rory reveals the challenges, absurdities and realities of political life. The widely acclaimed book has been described by Jonathan Dimbleby as “candid, angry, funny, and self-revelatory.”
“He was as expected so thoughtful and articulate and offered very detailed and concrete ideas to the audience.” Credit Agricole Group
“A fantastic speaker – thank you for the original recommendation, you were absolutely spot on. Rory was very pleasant to deal with, and our delegates found his address and Q&A session very thought provoking.” Scottish Council for Development and Industry
“All our stakeholders were very pleased. It was an excellent speech.” Kroll
“Fantastic presentation” David Henderson, Founder Insight Collective