The Person(behind the Professional)
I live in a co-housing community (in Danish: bofælleskab) in the historic Danish town of Roskilde, situated about 30 kms west of Copenhagen, famous for its Cathedral (where members of the Danish Royal Family are buried) and Viking ship museum and boasting a University. My IT technical skills are much in demand in my co-housing community, where I administer our shared Internet connection and our web site (www.jernstoberiet.dk - in Danish).
I am married to Elsebeth whom I met when we were both volunteers in Bangladesh (see below) and we have 2 children.
As an individual, I am easy going and well-liked by friends and acquaintances. I am a family man and enjoy relaxing with my family at weekends (during the summer half-year!) at our summer house in the West of Zealand (the island where we live). I also have a keen interest in world music (i.e. music from many different parts of the world including, amongst my favourites, some of the excellent musicians from Mali in West Africa as well as Celtic folk music - especially Irish music); as I sit working at my desk, I often listen to world music on one of the many Internet radio stations.
I was born and spent my first 15 years in Africa: the first 12 years in Malawi - or Nyasaland as the country was known prior to its independence in 1964, followed by 3 years on Mauritius - a relatively small island in the Indian Ocean. My father, a telecommunications engineer, was a public sector (government) employee working in the telecommunications service provider organisation in these countries.
My early years in Africa (both on-shore and off-shore) have been very influential in my developing an interest in adult life in the particular situations of developing nations in what is popularly termed the 'Third World'. I am very much aware that I have - by comparison with the vast majority of individuals born on the African continent - lived a privileged life and I have always felt that this places an onus on me to contribute what little I can in my professional life to helping to make the world a better place to live in by improving the conditions of the majority of the population rather than just the privileged few. Thus, after completing my university studies in the UK, I joined Voluntary Service Overseas as a volunteer and went to work in newly independent Bangladesh for 2 years in the mid-70's. Some 10 years later, I made a career path change to consultancy and, within a couple of years, I started working on telecommunications projects in developing countries.
My wife, Elsebeth, shares my views on working to make the world a better place and works in the Policy Unit at a leading Danish NGO, with responsibility for Gender and HIV/Aids issues in the organisation's programmes.