Events & Speakers | Posted 12.09.2014

A personal experience of Afghanistan

Dominic Medley OBE (OS) spoke about his experience as a journalist and media adviser in Afghanistan. The talk was the first of the P.A.S.T/Senior Essay Society talks of this term and a large audience was rewarded with a talk which fizzed with stories and ideas given by a gifted and insightful speaker. Virtually all aspects of the recent and not so recent history of Afghanistan were covered, from the problems experienced by the British Army in the nineteenth century through to Soviet occupation and the rise and fall of the Taliban. Dominic’s unrivalled knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the development of the living conditions of the people of Afghanistan came through in an enthralling presentation which revealed that there are solid grounds for hope in this war-torn country.
It was clear that Dominic’s interest in both current affairs and history were first developed during his time at Stonyhurst. A former Head of the Line (Head Boy) from 1988-9, Dominic spoke very warmly of his great affection for Mr Ridout and the way that he had stimulated his interest in history and politics. In 1985 they had founded the P.A.S.T. Society together. Dominic was delighted to be presented with the first edition of the P.A.S.T. magazine which he had mostly written by hand and which had been issued to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Dominic left Stonyhurst in 1989 and studied history at the University of Warwick and then journalism at the Cardiff Centre for Journalism Studies at the University of Wales. He joined the BBC in 1993 and worked in the west of England as a TV and radio reporter and producer before he joined the BBC World Service, training journalists abroad in Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Eastern Europe. He also worked for the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia which was responsible for implementing the 1995 peace agreement. Dominic worked in Afghanistan since 2002, including two years with the United Nations mission there. He has also been heavily involved with training Afghan journalists, as the media scene has boomed in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, and was an advisor to British General Sir David Richards when he was commander of international forces in Afghanistan in 2006. From June 2010 to June 2013 he was the Civilian Spokesman and Media Advisor to the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan. On a daily basis he conducted interviews and press conferences on behalf of NATO. He is currently free-lancing as a journalist and media advisor and hopes to continue to work for the UN in the near future.

Overall, this was wonderful evening in the presence of a speaker thoroughly engrossed in the issues of today yet so clearly grounded in the education that he received at Stonyhurst. We wish him every success in the next chapter of his glittering career.

Mr M. Turner (Head of History)