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Name: David Malone
Title: Rector, United Nations University, Undersecretary-General of the United Nations
URL: https://unu.edu/
Hometown: Ottawa, Canada
Years in Japan: 8


What led to your current position in Japan?

Actually, it was through reading an advertisement for the job in the Economist magazine! A lot of people think those job ads in the Economist are “for the record,” rather than leading to actual jobs, but my last two positions came through reading the advertisements. Im an avid reader, and flipping through the pages, I always had a look at what was on offer.

David Malone | © HIROMICHI MATONO
David Malone | © HIROMICHI MATONO

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Im not sure that I have a biggest achievement personally, because most of what I do tends to be with teams. My career has been self-constructed, and I really enjoy working with others, people who are very different from me, and learning a lot from them.

Do you have a motto or some idea that has inspired your career?

I suppose the thing that drives me most is not standing still — always trying to move on to new challenges, new perspectives and new fields of study. I have tended to be a gypsy throughout my career — Id get offered something that might be interesting or Id go looking for something Id enjoy doing. Ive moved around quite a lot compared to most people, particularly those involved in diplomacy.

What aspect of life in Japan do you particularly enjoy?

One great achievement of Japan, that I think is underestimated and taken for granted by most of the public, is the national park system. It is a huge achievement, and it is beautifully kept up with love, not just care. I wish more people would discover them.  Japan is full of parks, and that has been a wonderful way to explore Japan, because nature is linked to Japanese culture very strongly. Thats been a huge pleasure for me.

Do you have a motto in life, or some idea/quote that has inspired you?

I suppose the thing that drives me most is not standing still — always trying to move on to new challenges, new perspectives and new fields of study.

One thing I did in the Canadian Foreign Ministry that really nobody wanted to do was to, in a sense,  mastermind a complete review of Canadian foreign policy. I wound up working with many other people, but the structure of it, how the content unfolded, what we argued in favor of … that I did have a significant role in.

It achieved two things for me: We pulled off what wasnt the worst review ever, and, as a reward, I was granted leave to go off and do my Ph.D., so I was very pleased with myself.

For the full article, please visit: https://sustainable.japantimes.com/lr

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