Marianne Young

Marianne Young

High Commissioner, Windhoek

Part of UK in Namibia

6th July 2011 Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek calling

Welcome to my first blog. I am the new British High Commissioner Designate to the Republic of Namibia. ‘Designate’ because I have just arrived in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, and am waiting to present my credentials from my head of state, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to the Namibian Head of State, President Pohamba, to confirm me officially as the local representative for the UK.

This is my first time serving as a Head of Mission. I was previously Deputy High Commissioner to the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland as part of my last job in the British High Commission in Pretoria, where I spent the last four years. I also headed up that embassy’s External Political team, covering South African foreign policy issues and regional developments. That gave me a real appetite for Southern African Development Community (SADC) issues and the opportunity to travel widely around the region and savour its many diverse and fascinating cultures.

So I am delighted to be staying on in the region for another four years. I am now busy settling in my young family (three small children, husband and cat) to their new home and schools after what turned out to be a major trek west across the border. Most of our possessions still haven’t arrived – two weeks in – and aren’t due to turn up from South Africa for another week. We are currently living out of suitcases and hoping that the temperature doesn’t drop below zero again. The cat is proving very popular on cold laps.

Climate notwithstanding, we have received an incredibly warm welcome since arriving in Windhoek. We look forward to making our home here for the next four years and exploring this spectacular country from end to end.

Across at the office, I have joined a small but busy UK team in the British High Commission building. It incorporates both the High Commission and British Council under one centrally-located roof. I am lucky to be working with an experienced team of Namibian nationals to strengthen relations between the UK and Namibia. We also work to promote trade, cultural and educational links; engage on governance, climate change and security issues; and provide consular assistance to some of the many British residents and up to 31,000 annual British travellers to this magnificent country, amongst other things.

I am fortunate that the UK and Namibia already enjoy excellent bilateral relations. The Queen visited the newly formed Republic in 1991 and President Pohamba called on the Queen in London for the second time in June 2011 (see the News section of our website). London also looks forward to hosting a number of Namibian Olympians next year at London 2012 – set to be the greatest sporting show on earth! It is set to be a tremendous year for bilateral relations on many levels.

I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as British High Commissioner to Namibia at such an exciting time. Namibia continues to play a key role in regional affairs. The country is currently chairing the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and host to the SADC Tribunal, SADC Parliamentary Forum and Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Secretariat. Namibia remains a committed contributor to international peacekeeping and the UK is helping to provide training assistance to both the Namibian Defence and Police Forces. Our countries also continue to enjoy deep commercial links – British business is well represented in the country’s mining sector and looking to increase involvement in the developing oil and gas sector – and the UK stands as Namibia’s second largest export market after South Africa. I hope to help deepen these established links and develop many fresh ones.

I am keen to use this blog to help chart this journey, show UK taxpayers how our work is promoting UK’s interests in this distant corner of Africa, and provide local Namibians with a window into the mission’s work and all that the UK has to offer.

I  very much welcome your comments as the journey unfolds.

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About Marianne Young

Marianne Young is the current British High Commissioner to the Republic of Namibia. She arrived in Windhoek in June 2011 and presented her credentials to the President of the Republic of…

Marianne Young is the current British High Commissioner to the
Republic of Namibia. She arrived in Windhoek in June 2011 and presented
her credentials to the President of the Republic of Namibia on 3rd
Mrs Young joined the FCO in 2001 following a career in international
journalism, including time spent running an Asian maritime press office
in Singapore and a traineeship on the UK’s Times newspaper.
Her first role in the FCO was as a Press Officer in News Department,
after which she went on to be Head of the Great Lakes Section in Africa
Directorate and then Head of the East Africa & Horn Section.
In 2005, she became the first Head of Communications for the Engaging with the Islamic World Group.
She moved to the British High Commission in Pretoria in February 2007
and served as the Head of the External Political Section and Deputy
High Commissioner to the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland.
Mrs Young moved across to the British High Commission in Windhoek in
June 2011, and presented her credentials to the President of the
Republic of Namibia on 3rd August 2011.
On her appointment as British High Commissioner to the Republic of Namibia, Mrs Young said:
“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed Her Majesty’s High
Commissioner to Namibia. I look forward to working to strengthen the
many commercial, political and cultural ties between our two countries,
and to help the many British nationals who holiday there. My family and I
are particularly thrilled to be remaining in southern Africa – and to
have the opportunity to explore this beautiful country further and
discover more about its people and culture.”
Curriculum vitae

Full name:
Marianne Young

Married to:
Barry Young

Two daughters and one son

June 2011
Windhoek, British High Commissioner

2007 – 2011
Pretoria, Head of External Political Section and DHC for the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland

2005 – 2006
FCO, Head of Communications, Engaging with the Islamic World Group

2004 – 2005
FCO, Head of East Africa & Horn Section, Africa Directorate

3/2003 – 8/2003
FCO, Head of Great Lakes Section, Africa Directorate

2002 – 2003
FCO, Press Officer, Press Office

2001 – 2002
FCO, Departmental Report Editor, Press Office

Joined FCO

Senior Correspondent, Fairplay Group, UK

Staff Editor and then Asia Editor, Fairplay Group Singapore

Graduate Trainee at The Times newspaper, UK

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