'As a leading international civil servant, Margaret Anstee has lived with the great themes of post–war history: poverty, conflict and the unending difficulty of limiting either. But she also writes of romance and travel, friendship and daily incident – even about making herself a ball–gown out of a parachute and dancing the night away!' Onora O'Neill, Principal, Newnham College, Cambridge
'An intelligent and courageous human being, Dame Margaret Anstee is also a wonderful writer. She vividly presents for us the adventures she has experienced, the battles she has won and lost, and the fascinating people she has encountered along the way.' Gerald J. Bender, Professor (and former Director), School of International Relations, University of Southern California, and former President of the African Studies Association
'What a life! She strode – and occasionally stumbled – across Development, the UN and the men in her life with a style, intelligence and curiosity reminiscent of those extraordinary Victorian women explorers. With a brief detour to Harold Wilson's Downing Street, her career was spent as Adviser and UN Representative in some of the world's most exotic, difficult and dangerous places. She is one of those redoubtable Englishwomen for whom England was always a size too small.' Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
Dame Margaret Anstee served the United Nations (UN) for over four decades (1952–93), and, in 1987, was the first woman to achieve the rank of Under Secretary–General. She worked on operational programmes of economic and social development in all regions of the world, mostly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). From 1987–92 she served as Director–General of the UN at Vienna, Head of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs and Co–ordinator of all UN narcotic drug control programmes. From 1992–3 she was the Secretary–General's Special Representative to Angola, the first woman to head a UN peacekeeping mission including its military component.
Dame Margaret served successively as Resident Representative of UNDP in eight countries, in Asia, Latin America and Africa. From 1974–87 she occupied senior positions at UN headquarters in New York and was also given special responsibility for a number of disaster relief programmes, including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Mexican earthquake of 1985 and the Kuwait oil wells of 1991.
From 1967–8 Dame Margaret served as Senior Economic Adviser to Harold Wilson in the Prime Minister's Office of the Government of the United Kingdom.
Dame Margaret was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, of which she is an Honorary Fellow. She continues to work ad honorem for the UN and for the President and Government of Bolivia. Amongst other activities she is a member of Jimmy Carter's International Council for Conflict Resolution.
" continues to leave her audiences breathless with intrigue." (Mid Wales Journal, August 2006)