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Malik on Motivation

Moazzam Malik discusses his children, and why they have motivated him to work in the field of development.

Ky Luu:
  Moazzem, I first met you back in 2006, at the pledging conference for the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, where you were the British delegate and I was representing the United States, and we were sitting next to each other. And I still remember to this day a statement you made, while announcing that the British government’s very generous pledge to the CERF, if I may paraphrase, you noted your children’s future, and how it would be positively impacted from what we were doing collectively to strengthen the United Nations system. Is this what motivates you to continue working in this field?

Moazzam Malik: Yes it is. As you can see, I’m originally from South Asia. I was born and grew up in Britain, but my personal background has always meant that I have been very, very aware of the life circumstances of people around the world. It's an accident of family history that I’ve come to grow up in Britain and had all the opportunities I’ve had. And when I look at my children and I look at children when I travel abroad, they’re children—and I want them to have the same opportunities. And that really motivates my interest in development, in terms of the humanitarian side. You generously recall the statement I made at the CERF, and I think the point I was making was if a calamity struck us personally, and affected our children, how would we want the international community to respond, to save our children’s lives, to meet the needs of our children? And if one applies that yardstick, and we think about it in terms of our children, it brings an urgency, and a drive, and a directness to what we expect that sometimes is missing when one talks about international agencies and the alphabet soup of the development business or the humanitarian business. And the point that I was trying to make really, was that this is vital. It matters, it saves lives, it affects lives, it affects life chances. And we need to bring that kind of urgency and drive and directness to our work. And that’s why I posed it to those terms. That is indeed what motivates me day in day out.

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