A Perthshire resident is to be awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Livingstone Medal.
Rory Stewart, from Crieff, will follow in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Neil Armstrong when he is recognised for his charitable work in Afghanistan.
Mr Stewart, who previously worked as a deputy governor in Iraq, runs the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, which aims to regenerate Afghanistan’s traditional crafts and historic areas.
In so doing it creates jobs and skills while promoting a renewed sense of national identity in the battle-scarred country.
The Livingstone Medal was first awarded in 1901 and is given in recognition of outstanding public service in which geography has played an important part.
Crucially, the discipline’s principles must have been applied to the benefit of the human race.
Previous recipients of the medal include Captain R. F. Scott, Sir Edmund Hillary and, more recently, Africa’s first female Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai.Royal requestMr Stewart established the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, at the request of the Prince of Wales and Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Since its launch in 2006, the charity has set up an institute for Afghan arts and architecture, comprising schools of woodworking, calligraphy and painting, ceramics and jewellery and gem cutting.
Led by Mr Stewart, the foundation has rebuilt homes, laid infrastructure, preserved historic buildings and opened a school and clinic in Murad Khane, the artistic quarter of Kabul’s old city.
Members have also sold nearly $1,000,000 in traditional arts and crafts, in Afghanistan and abroad.
RSGS chief executive Mike Robinson said Mr Stewart was a worthy recipient.
He said, “The Livingstone Medal is one of our most prestigious awards and deservedly Rory will be added to a long list of hugely influential people who have previously taken the honour.
“One of the factors that makes Rory so inspirational is that, by the age of 37, he has achieved more than most of us will in a lifetime yet for him it is only the beginning.”
Following the medal ceremony, Mr Stewart will discuss how walking solo across Afghanistan in 2002 informed his subsequent work, establishing the charity and engaging in debate on Afghanistan.
His presentation and talk will take place on August 30 in the Albert Halls, Stirling.