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Spotlight on an OG

Spotlight on an OG

Matthew Hollingworth, Bruce 1993

What are you currently doing?

For the last 15 years I have worked for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) - the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger with the mission to save lives and livelihoods, and to improve the nutrition, food security and self-reliance of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Since January 2013 I have been posted to Syria as the WFP Country Director, managing an emergency where we provide food assistance to more than four million people every month, with a budget of around $700 million.

Matthew and colleagues from the UN World Food Programme

Why did you choose to go to Gordonstoun?

That was a long time ago! As I recall the idea was sold to me by the Headmaster of my school at the time (Dubai College) who was somehow related to Michael Mavor. I guess he thought I could do with some discipline…

How have your Gordonstoun experiences helped you?

I remember it was quite difficult leaving school - I had such a blast everything was a little vanilla for a while! - and by the time I worked out what I wanted to do in the field of humanitarian aid and development, the whole ‘community service’ ethos of the school started to seem very relevant.

What was the most important thing you learned from Gordonstoun?

That there really is more in you than you think… and team work. I couldn’t do the job I do without relishing a challenge and enjoying working in / relying on close-knit teams.

What and where did you study after leaving Gordonstoun?

I did a BA in Philosophy and Politics at Southampton University and then an MSc in Supply Chain Management at Cranfield a few years later.

What advice would you give to students leaving Gordonstoun today?

If you know what you want to do - fantastic. Not many do! If you don’t, don’t worry, it will come and whenever it does, make plans and stick with them. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I made a five year plan on where I wanted to be, what location, what job and what I needed to do to get there. Then I made another plan … and another. They have served me well!

Which service were you in?

Coastguards - and a truly awesome bunch we were too!

Sail Training (cruise) or exped?

The expeds were my favourite. Cruise was character building - but I haven’t been near a sailing boat since 6B cruise…

Your favourite subject at school?

Ah. Hmm. Academia came to me a little later in life. But I do remember with great affection class discussions with Dr Clutton (A-Level History), not to mention having a fantastic time for a term in Schule Schloss Salem.

Matthew with some Syrian children

What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?

An end to the carnage destroying Syria and tormenting the Syrian people. And a family posting would be good too…


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