Mark Huband

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Mark Huband
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Born (1963-08-30) August 30, 1963 (age 60)
Low Bentham
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
  • Author
  • poet

Mark Christopher Huband (Born 30 August 1963) is a British author, poet and former foreign correspondent specialising in Africa, the Middle East, terrorism, intelligence and global affairs.

Early life

Mark Huband was born in Low Bentham,[1] Yorkshire, the son of David Huband and Ann Huband (née Greening).

On his father's side, he is a descendent of the Viking invader Rollo, Count of Rouen and the first Duke of Normandy (860-930) [2] through Avelina of Bolbec, great-aunt of William 1, 'The Conqueror' (1028-1087). Following the Norman invasion of England in 1066, Mark Huband's ancestor Hugo was given the Ipsley estate along the Warwickshire-Worcestershire border;[3] the estate remained in the Huband family until 1750. In 1266 the estate was seized from Sir Henry Huband as punishment for his strong support for Simon de Monfort's rebellion against King Edward II; as Constable of Kenilworth Castle, Sir Henry Huband devised de Monfort's defensive strategy during the Siege of Kenilworth.[4] Ipsley was returned to the Huband family by the Dictum of Kenilworth. [5] Sir John Huband (1650-1710) was one of the 25 founding shareholders of the Bank of England.[6]

Mark Huband's mother was born in Rogny-les-sept-Ecluses,[7] 100 miles south of Paris, France, two months before Nazi Germany invaded France in May 1940. She, her Belgian-born mother, sister and two brothers spent two years on the run, before escaping France across the Pyrenees to Spain and reaching Lisbon. The ship they were due to take to England was destroyed by a German torpedo, and they reached England aboard another vessel shortly afterwards. Mark Huband has two brothers.

In 1967 the Huband family moved from Yorkshire to the Essex new town of Harlow.[8] His experience of growing up in Harlow is the subject of his 2020 memoir Skinny White Kids: A Memoir.[9] He was educated at Burnt Mill Comprehensive School,[10] where his father was Head of English, and at Manchester University, graduating with a degree in history in 1985. In 1986 he received a Diploma in Journalism Studies from University College, Cardiff.

Personal life

He lives near Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK, with his wife, a princess of the Gueré ethnic group[11] of Côte d'Ivoire.[12] They have two children.


Following short periods on local newspapers in London and Manchester, Mark Huband was in 1988 appointed as the Westminster-based Political Correspondent of the newly-founded Wales On Sunday, working as the newspaper's Lobby correspondent. He left Wales On Sunday in 1989, having been appointed by the Financial Times to cover West Africa, based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. On 6 April 1990, he was seized from a train in Liberia, by rebel forces under the command of Charles Taylor[13] who had invaded the country, and was released several days later after becoming the first reporter to witness the impact the war was having on Liberia. He continued to cover the Liberian civil war as a reporter, over the following years.

Africa Correspondent

In May 1990 he was appointed by The Guardian as its West Africa Correspondent, in which role he covered all of West and Central Africa, his journalism ranging from social and economic issues to political coverage and war reporting as Africa emerged for Cold War-era single-party rule. In 1992 he moved from Abidjan to Nairobi, Kenya, becoming Africa Correspondent for The Guardian and The Observer. He stayed for many months in Somalia during numerous reporting assignments, witnessing the famine, war, and intervention by US forces. In 1993 Huband and the reporter Stephen Smith[14] of the French newspaper Libération[15] secured an interview with a captive US helicopter pilot, Col Mike Durant,[16] who was being held by forces of the Somali faction leader Mohamed Farah Aideed.

On 10 April 1994, Huband was among the first journalists to reach the Rwandan capital Kigali[17] following the eruption of the Rwandan genocide, which led to the deaths of up to one million Rwandans. He remained in Rwanda throughout the genocide.

Middle East & North Africa Correspondent

He left East Africa in 1995, moving to Morocco to report on North Africa, his key focus being the political turmoil in Algeria. He was one of the first reporters to identify the growing influence of political Islam,[18] and to identify the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as a key figure in this movement. After an extensive visit to Afghanistan in October-November 1996, where he witnessed the early weeks of Taliban rule in the capital Kabul, he moved in 1997 to Cairo, Egypt as regional correspondent for the Financial Times. During 1997-2000 he reported from most countries of the Arab world, as well as Iran, developing a deep knowledge of economic, business and political trends throughout North Africa and the Middle East.[19]

Security Correspondent

Moving to London for the Financial Times in 2000, he created the newspaper's International Economy section. In the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, he was appointed to oversee the FT’s coverage of al-Qaida. He was subsequently appointed as the newspaper’s first Security Correspondent, in which role he covered issues ranging from Islamic extremism to Iran’s nuclear programme and the role of secret intelligence in Iraq and elsewhere.[20] He was one of the first journalists to visit the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, from where he reported extensively on the tribunals of alleged terrorists being held there.[21]


Huband is the author of seven books on international affairs. His book The Liberian Civil War [22] is a highly-researched eyewitness account of the war, drawing upon extensive access to key sources. His book Trading Secrets: Spies and Intelligence in an Age of Terror [23] is regarded by intelligence professionals as an exceptionally well-informed account of the post-9/11 challenges facing intelligence organisations.

He has published seven works of poetry. His collections The Siege of Monrovia[24] and Agony: A Poem of Genocide [25] draw heavily on his experience as a journalist. In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Live Canon International Poetry Prize for his debut collection American Road.[26]

Livingstone & Company

Since leaving journalism in 2005, he has overseen major research projects for multinational companies seeking detailed understanding of political, economic and business issues. As co-founder and Managing Director of Livingstone & Company[27] he has, since 2008, managed the research and provision of strategic intelligence reporting in all parts of the world.

Lecturer and academic

Mark Huband has lectured in international affairs, terrorism studies, intelligence and African and Middle Eastern affairs at the University of Bath, the Royal United Services Institute (London), the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (London), SuperReturnAfrica conference (Nairobi, Kenya), Regional Investment conference (Cairo, Egypt), University of Manchester (as Simon Industrial and Professional Fellow lecture), World Economic Forum (Jordan), Swedish National Defence College (Stockholm), Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Copenhagen).

In March 2020 he was appointed Guest Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Bath.

Parliamentary candidate

At the June 2017 UK General Election he stood as the Labour Party candidate in The Cotswolds[28]. At the December 2019 UK General Election he stood as the Labour Party candidate in North East Somerset[29]. At both elections he won second place. His experience of the 2019 election is related in his poetry collection The Candidate.[30]

Awards and honours

  • 1990: Freelance Foreign Correspondent of the Year (David Blundy Award). Winner,[31] for reporting in The Guardian of the Liberian civil war
  • 2000: Business and Financial Story of the Year, Foreign Press Association Awards (London). Winner, for Financial Times coverage of the conflict diamonds issue
  • 2003: Best Investigative Reporting, Net Media Awards, European Online Journalism, Winner, for Financial Times coverage of WMD proliferation[32]
  • 2013: Trading Secrets: Spies & Intelligence in an Age of Terror, Shortlisted, UK Political Book Awards
  • 2014: American Road, Shortlisted, Live Canon International Poetry Competition

Non-fiction works

  • The Liberian Civil War. London: Frank Cass/Routledge. 1998. ISBN 978-0714643403
  • Egypt Leading the Way: Institution building and stability in the financial system. London: Euromoney Books. 1999. ISBN 978-1855646698
  • Warriors of the Prophet: The Struggle for Islam. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press. 1999. ISBN 978-0813327815
  • Egypt: Competing in the Global Market Place. London: Euromoney Books. 2001. ISBN 978-1855648401
  • The Skull Beneath the Skin: Africa after the Cold War. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0367318987
  • Brutal Truths, Fragile Myths: Power Politics and Western Adventurism in the Arab World. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press. 2004. ASIN B01K0UOS4S
  • The Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Challenge of the 21st Century (Joint editor). London: C. Hurst & Co. 2009. ISBN 978-1850659020
  • Trading Secrets: Spies and Intelligence in an Age of Terror. London: I B Tauris. 2013. ISBN 978-1848858435




  9. Skinny White Kids: A Memoir. London. Gruskham Books. 2020. ISBN 979-8559965550
  22. The Liberian Civil War. London: Frank Cass/Routledge. 1998. ISBN 978-0714643403
  23. Trading Secrets: Spies and Intelligence in an Age of Terror. London: I B Tauris. 2013. ISBN 978-1848858435
  24. The Siege of Monrovia. London. LiveCanon. 2017. ISBN 978-1909703155
  25. Agony: A Poem of Genocide. London. LiveCanon. 2020. ISBN 978-1909703926
  26. American Road. London. LiveCanon. 2014. ISBN 978-1909703063
  30. The Candidate. Stroud. Yew Tree Press. 2020. ISBN 978-1916145498

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