[...] The controversy comes after it was revealed that the current ambassador recently married an Armenian woman working at the British Embassy.I personally met Charles and Maria in Yerevan. Here is what I posted following the meeting:
The two developments have led to local politicians nicknaming the British mission the ‘love embassy’. [...] (Daily Mail)
What a nice couple: UK ambassador in Armenia Charles & Maria. Friendly, intelligent, cool. Great night out with them & Onnik + more friends. People. Atmosphere. Super. At my fave venue in Yerevan. Alternative Armenia reality. The one I like. #YerevanDiariesBelow is an extract from his farewell blog post. Good-bye, Charles. You will be missed!!
[...] The economic crisis means poverty is as serious an issue as ever, though I’ve written before now on some good work being done by NGOs, including Oxfam. There’s also been some progress on gender issues and it’s possible now to hope for some progress on the question of domestic violence in a way I didn’t think possible when I first arrived. There’s even been some limited progress in reporting of lesbian and gay issues, though there’s still a long way to go to overcome some deep-rooted prejudices.
Encouragingly, I think we’re seeing more active participation by young people in both formal and informal politics, including campaigning on particular issues, such as the environment. That’s something we’ve supported and encouraged and meeting bright, active young people has always been one of the things that gives me hope for Armenia’s future, whatever the challenges ahead. The biggest issue though is to ensure that those young people see their future in Armenia, and that they have the opportunity to put their talents to work here, rather than joining the steady outflow of people away from the country.
I have occasionally apologised for adding to that outflow by marrying one of those bright young Armenians, and I will be forcing her to leave, at least temporarily to come with me to Vienna for my next job. As she pointed out though, it’s open to debate if I’m taking her away from Armenia or she is taking me to Armenia. At any rate, I look forward to returning to this fascinating country.
When asked for my feelings on departure, I’ve tended to say that I’m a frustrated optimist: there is a lot of potential and I’ve come across many capable, smart people. But somehow the necessary changes have rarely moved as fast or as far as I would hope. But I remain optimistic that positive changes can and should continue. [...]
I met Jonathan and Katherine in London and have to say they seem full of energy and enthusiasm to contribute for best in Armenia. Here is hoping they will double their efforts in pursuing the issues and more mentioned by Charles in his farewell post.
*pictures - via British Embassy Yerevan FB page and MFA.