Libya: A journey of the mind, with Amelia Stewart
Amelia Stewart has been exploring Libya since the early 2000s, working with schools, media, diplomats, war veterans and adventurers, organising and accompanying groups of all sizes across the country.
Amelia is a passionate advocate for this little known and much maligned state, for its culture and history and its people.
A huge country with a tiny population & enormous reserves of oil, it is a singular mix of all the races that have lived in, invaded, conquered, settled and beset the area: Carthaginian, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Africans, indigenous Tuareg & Berber tribes, Ottomans & Mamlukes and more recent Italians.
Deeply immersed in the country, Amelia found herself in the middle of the “Libyan Revolution” which tore Libya apart in 2011 and resulted in the death of Colonel Gadaffi as well as thousands of Libyans. Amelia was at this time involved with a medical charity, based in Misrata, which bore the brunt of the war, & where her Libyan business partners were all based. She returned shortly after Gadaffi's death, to see her colleagues and assess with her own eyes the damage done to the extraordinary Roman sites of Leptis Magna and Sabratha, two of the greatest & best preserved Roman sites in the Mediterranean.
Violence and instability continue to ravage Libya. February 2016 saw the fifth anniversary of the Revolution & Amelia wrote and co-produced a highly acclaimed programme to mark the occasion, aired on BBC Radio 4 in March this year. She continues to be passionate about all things Libyan, maintaining strong links with her friends and colleagues still living in the country.
Amelia will share her experiences of travelling and working in Libya from 2004 to the 2011 Revolution and beyond, and will show us something of the reality that the country currently faces, with the help of her stunning & extraordinary photographs, she will discuss how and why they have changed and what this means for the people of Libya today.
Shortly after Amelia’s first visit to Libya she set up Simoon Travel– the first tour operator to specialise in bespoke tailor-made and small group tours to the country, and a few years later added Syria and Iran to her portfolio. She has recently returned from leading tours to Uzbekistan and Iran - countries that have seen an upsurge in tourism due to the decline in travel to North Africa and the Middle East. In 2012 Simoon Travel merged with Original Travel where she continues to develop and lead small group tours to the more unusual and adventurous off-the-beaten-track destinations.
Amelia is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society & lives and works in London.