John Yarwood graduated in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and in Urban Planning from the University of Sheffield. His doctoral thesis concerned the history of Islamic urbanism. After an early career in local government, he was for five years Head of the architects’ department of Telford New Town Development Corporation. After two years as Head of Urban Renewal in Bahrain, he worked as a consultant in Turkey, the Philippines, Kuwait, Jamaica, Dubai, Germany, Finland, Britain, Russia, Poland, China, Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sudan, Afghanistan and Albania. He has worked for the EU, EC and the World Bank. Subsequently he worked as an academic at University College Dublin. He was awarded an MBE in 1997 after his work in Bosnia. He is a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. He used to be a Quaker. He is married to an ex- children’s psychiatric social worker, who is now a counsellor to refugees and torture victims. They have three grown-up children.