New honour for envoy in Kosovo

The Northampton-born British ambassador in Kosovo has been given a second prestigious award, as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours.

David Slinn, 49, had already been awarded an OBE in recognition of his work in Kosovo several years ago but has now been made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George – which is awarded to UK citizens involved in foreign affairs – in recognition of his work in Afghanistan.

Mr Slinn, who attended Northampton Grammar School, went on to complete a languages degree and took up posts in countries including Kosovo, Afghanistan and North Korea, working for the British Foreign Office.

He said: "Obviously it is a great honour to receive a second award from the Queen. When I originally left Northampton to go to university back in 1977, I would never have dreamed that I would get to work in so many different places around the world, or get two awards from the Queen."

Mr Slinn worked as head of the provincial reconstruction team in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from February 2007 to February 2008.

He said: "We were living and working alongside the UK military on an army base just outside Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. Our job was to build on the success of the UK military in pushing the Taliban out of areas they had occupied.

"After 30 years of war and conflict, most of the local population were happy to see the Taliban gone and the Government of Afghanistan take their place. We are making good progress, but it will be a long process."

He has now returned to Kosovo, where he worked in 2001, to work for the International Civilian Office , an EU-led organisation set up to help supervise Kosovo's independence.

He said: "Kosovo has changed a lot since I was last here. Most people are now looking to the future with confidence, something that was definitely not the case back in 1999 and 2000.

"Obviously there are still lots of problems, including in Mitrovica, but this is no longer the post-conflict situation that I left seven years ago."

Mr Slinn's father Ronald, who still lives in Northampton, told the Chronicle & Echo: "We are so thrilled he's got this award. We are very proud of him."