By Chris Bowers, British Consul General in Erbil. This article was originally published by Rudaw, and is re-published with permission by Iraq Business News.
All good things have to come to an end. After one season short of two years, dear reader, I will be returning to London to spend more time with my family. This will be my last column as HM Consul General in Erbil. My successor, a fine and experienced diplomat called Hugh Evans stands in the wings. I know that he is excited to be coming to the Kurdistan Region.
I hope, dear reader, that through these columns you have been able to read something of what we in the UK think important in the Kurdistan Region and beyond.
What have I learned in my time here?
I have learned that there is a huge appetite in the Kurdistan Region to engage with the international community, primarily the West, to make up for the lost decades of isolation. I have been thrilled to see that within that context Britain retains a special place in the affections of many Kurds. From what I can distil, when a Kurd meets a Brit they assume a knowledge and understanding of the ways of the region, a commitment to quality, a sense of humour and a belief in fairness. Many Kurds have told me their memories about how the UK led in establishing no fly zones in 1991-2 and the role of our soldiers and our airmen as they helped Kurds laid the foundations of what we see today. It is humbling to be here and it is our duty as representatives of Britain to build on these strong foundations.