12th March 2010 New York, USA

British Memorial Garden

One of the roles that comes with my job is to represent the Consulate-General on the Board of the British Memorial Garden Trust.  The Trust’s mission is to build a permanent memorial for the 67 British victims of the 9/11 attacks. 
That memorial has taken shape in a public park in Downtown’s Financial District.  Since May last year, when Prince Harry named it, the Garden is known officially to New York City as "The British Garden at Hanover Square".   It’s a little piece of New York that is distinctly British.  And it’s a reminder of just how much binds the UK with the US, and with New York in particular.
As with any not-for-profit, the highest priority for the Trust’s Board is to raise funds for the project. And particularly this year, since we aim to complete the Garden in 2010.  This week we held our Gala dinner at Gotham Hall.  After several months work (all pro bono) by a very committed a dedicated team, the Dinner raised several hundred thousand pounds for the Garden. 
Philanthropy is part of New York life.  It’s normal for institutions to raise huge sums from private donors (somebody told me that a cause they are involved with raised $20m in one evening recently).  And it’s normal for donors to make substantial grants to causes or projetcs they believe in.  One of the reasons for New York’s cultural and intellectual dynamism is institutions’ ability to fund ambitious programmes from private sources.  And British institutions do well here too, developing strong networks of supporters and patrons. 
The next step for the Garden, after completion this summer, is to establish a conservancy which will maintain and enhance it in perpetuity.  If you would like to get involved, do please contact the Board.
We also hosted a couple of interesting meetings this week for Lord Anderson of Swansea, in his role as Middle East rapporteur for the European Security and Defence Assembly.  We keep in touch with a range of leaders in the Jewish and Muslim communities, and Lord Anderson was able to meet some of the rising generation of young leaders from both communities.  No point in pretending that their views are very close on the substantive issues. But it is interesting how they see the need to build coalitions across communities to communicate their views more effectively to the US and to Europe

About Dominic Meiklejohn

I was born in Woking, outside London, in 1967 and attended Merton College, Oxford University, graduating in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. After university, I worked for HM Customs and Excise…

I was born in Woking, outside London, in 1967 and attended Merton College, Oxford University, graduating in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

After university, I worked for HM Customs and Excise before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1990. After working for the European Community Department, I learned Polish and began a posting at the British Embassy Warsaw, where I headed the British Know How Fund for Poland (1993-96). In 1997, I worked for the OSCE Mission in Albania, before heading up the India team in the South Asian Department of the FCO. In 2000, I was posted as First Secretary to the British Embassy Warsaw, with a particular focus on European Union issues in the run-up to Poland’s accession to the EU. In 2003, I returned to the UK as Deputy Head of the Environment Policy Department. From 2004-2005, I led the FCO’s Knowledge Management Programme. During this period, I led two deployments of the FCO’s Consular Rapid Deployment Team– to Sri Lanka, after the tsunami in 2004 and to Pakistan, after the earthquake in 2005. From 2006-2007, I served as Deputy Consul-General, Basra, Iraq. From June 2007 I worked with the FCO’s Change Unit.

I took up my current appointment on 22 January 2008. My wife Joanne and I are the proud parents of Olivia. Outside of the office, I cycle around Manhattan, play soccer (football) and, when parenting duties allow, enjoy the cultural riches offered by New York. I try hard to understand baseball.