William Boyd, 34, United Kingdom
I’m a civilian, I studied international relations and have worked for NGOs and as a lobbyist in Brussels. Prior to coming to Georgia I spent about four years in the Balkans, the last two and a half with the OSCE Mission to Skopje. Before that I was in Skopje and Kosovo working on different issues including human trafficking and minority rights.
The main reason that I studied international relations was that I thought it would give me the opportunity to live and work in different countries and experience their cultures, and it has. I have lived outside of the UK since I was 13 years old and although Scotland will always be home, I generally feel comfortable anywhere. I’m a proud father, very happily married and enjoy photography, rugby union (although I rarely play these days), food and cinema.
I arrived in Georgia in June 2013 and have worked at the Field Office in Gori ever since, initially in an Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) team, then with a human security and for the last year or so in the reporting and information office.
I love Georgia as a country, and the stories that one hears of the hospitality of the people are absolutely true. The most surprising experience by far was meeting my wife here and getting married.
I have been moved by the reality and injustices of life along the ABL - villages cut in half by fencing and the local population unable to visit their families, work their land or visit the graves of their ancestors. It is incredibly sad, and one can only hope that with time progress can be made and reconciliation achieved between the different parties.
On a positive note, last year EUMM assisted UN Women with the Georgian Rugby Union in running presentations on gender awareness in two schools in the conflict affected areas and also some rugby coaching afterwards. I was struck by how happy everyone was to be there from the children to the representatives and former international rugby players. It was very different to our usual duties but immensely rewarding. I think that grassroots initiatives reaching out to communities affected by the conflict are especially important and, to me, this project was proof of that.
Aside from the work itself, which I believe is truly important, my favourite aspect of the job is the interaction with people. Aside from our meetings with local actors, within the Mission itself we have so many nationalities and colleagues with such diverse backgrounds and experiences. It’s always interesting.
Georgia is a stunningly beautiful country with a great history, people and traditions. If you’ve never visited, you really should.