Rory Stewart was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Malaysia. After a brief period in the British army, he joined the Foreign Office, serving in the Embassy in Indonesia and as British Representative in Montenegro, Yugoslavia. In 2002 he completed a 6,000 mile walk from Turkey to Bangladesh. His account of crossing Afghanistan on foot shortly after the US invasion, The Places In Between, was published in 2004, drew widespread acclaim, and was shortlisted for that year's Guardian First Book Award. He was awarded an OBE in 2004 for his work in Iraq. From 2006 to 2008 he lived in Kabul, where he was the Chief Executive of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation; in 2009 he was appointed to a professorial chair at Harvard University as the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights; and in 2010 he was elected as Member of Parliament for Penrith and the Border.