Dr Brian Brivati was professor of contemporary history, human rights and life writing at Kingston University until 2009, when he left to become director of the John Smith Memorial Trust and implement capacity building programmes for the UN and for the UK government globally. He combines projects in international development with writing. His most recent book was The Last Optimist in Baghdad and his previous publications include biographies of Hugh Gaitskell and Lord Goodman. He has written extensively on international politics, conflict and post-conflict recovery. He blogs at the Charlwood Review: charlwood-review.com.