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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Turkey

28th October 2015

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award-Türkiye


The student has achieved many immense things.  But faced with the arrival of what some people call a VVIP, she is anxious.

“What will I say?” she asks.  “How is he like?”

“Don’t worry,” we tell her.  “He is enormously experienced and professional.”

We recently had the privilege to welcome to Turkey His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, to support the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and its work with young people in Turkey.

The Award programme, the world’s leading youth achievement award, began formally in Turkey in 2003.  The Award aims to develop new skills, including volunteering, team-work and self confidence in young people aged 14-24.  3,000 young people in Turkey have completed Awards at bronze, silver or gold levels so far, with another 3,000 currently taking part.  It operates through a foundation; and now has 60 partnerships with schools in 14 cities.  Recognised by the National Ministry of Education, the programme has ambitions to expand across Turkey.

During his visit, The Earl presented Gold Award certificates to 21 participants in a ceremony at the Consulate General.  He visited two schools which are partners in the Awards programme; and attended a lunch and dinner which celebrated the development of the Award programme in Turkey.  At every step he enthused about the award, noting its benefits for character development, communities and employability.  Everyone came away energised and keen to engage.

And not once, having met His Royal Highness, was anyone remotely nervous.

We were immensely grateful to the Earl of Wessex for coming to Turkey to promote and support the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.  If any readers would like to know more about the award, as participants, schools or supporters, please contact Melissa Lara Clissold, National Director of the Award in Turkey, at melissa.clissold@intaward.org.tr

Follow Leigh Turner on Twitter at @leighturnerFCO

1 comment on “The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award-Türkiye

  1. Greetings from New Zealand. It was great to have Zehra attend our Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Roadshow in Auckland last week. Hopefully she enjoyed the evening and her stay in New Zealand.
    Best regards to the Award in Turkey. Kevin Plant Chief Executive the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.