George Ritmeyer

Hi Bloggers
I’ve been asked to introduce myself. I don’t have a lot of time and besides I’m not a terribly fascinating kind of guy so I’ll just list a few pointers and hope that’s what my author expected.  

Ø      Birth I was born George Ritmeyer in Patterson New York, a modest town, proud of its history; a place where old fashioned values are nurtured. To the north is Dutchess Country and on the east the border with Connecticut. The year was 1972 and Mark Spitz had just won his seventh gold medal at the Olympics. To my parents the timing of this seventh gold medal and my birth seemed inexplicably connected and so they added Mark to my name hoping I suppose that some of the glory might rub off. Before I could walk my mom took me to swim classes and eventually I became proficient but it was obvious that I had little natural ability despite the auspicious timing of my birth.

Ø      Childhood. I was an ordinary kid, from an ordinary family and school for the most part was serious business. If I worked hard I’d get ahead and getting ahead was something my parents wanted for me. I liked school but my passion was scouting. I was possibly the keenest scout the 440 troop has ever seen. I attended every meeting, every camping trip and every jamboree. I’m sure that if it hadn’t been for scouting I’d never have won my scholarship.  That scholarship changed my life. My parents were so proud of me, convinced that I’d make something of myself, as long as I knuckled down. I was pretty pleased too. I dreamed of a brilliant career and thought that a world of opportunity would magically open for me.

Ø      College. I was pretty nervous the first day I arrived at Columbia. I’ve never been terribly outgoing and it was a big step. My first time away from Patterson and I was on my own. My room mate was Brady Ambler and he was everything I wasn’t, popular, confident and good looking. Not that I’m ugly mind, rather I’m unremarkable but even in a crowd, the one person you couldn’t miss was Brady. Perhaps because we were opposites we got on. He was my buddy and introduced me to student life. That first year was the most carefree in my life; it’s my second I’d like to forget. Still we are what we are and what’s done is done. Anyways after that I buckled down and guess what? My parents were right all along.

Ø      Employment. Nowadays I work for the UN. Since 2006 I’ve worked with member states to ensure that the international conferences and gatherings they host are trouble-free. Over the years I’ve acquired a kind of intuition. I can sense trouble coming and come up with a way to counter it. Expect the unexpected; that’s what I tell folks. I focus on the big picture, critical issues and workable solutions and try always to empower others to do what’s right. In today’s world we can’t afford to take security for granted. I take my role seriously. I understand how easy it is for terror networks to destroy our way of life and take away the sense of safety on which we, the general public, rely for our open and free society to operate. We need law and order and vigilance. I’m proud to say that since I first took on these responsibilities there have not been any major disruptions at the conferences with which I have been associated. If I do my job right folks remember the conference and not who kept it safe. Of course I don’t do it on my own and I’m the first to acknowledge that.

Ø      Personal. I’m still single. Maybe one day that’ll change but for now it’s just as well because it’s rare for me to spend more that three or four days in one place  I’ve chosen this lifestyle and it suits me. I love my work; I enjoy my travels and the many wonderful people I meet. It can be tedious trapped in an airplane but I look at it as a plus. Flying gives me uninterrupted time to deliberate. I’m always amazed at the insights I get when I meditate and let my mind float free. I feel stillness at the centre of my being, detachment from the immediate issues at hand and wonder at the beauty and intricacy of the world around me which all leads me to a fresh understanding which is helpful. Believe me when I say that we can make great progress when we work together. Together we can do more and make better decisions than we can alone.

Ø      Summary. So to summarize. I’m an ordinary guy who prefers to stay in the background and who believes in others, in co-operation and in the peace process. I don’t have all the answers and if I’m in doubt I say so. I’m dedicated to making the world a better, safer place and to keeping evil under control.

Brady and I, well as I mentioned, we’re complete opposites and then something came between us. It was regrettable. I hadn’t seen him for years then suddenly there he was, just last year, getting on the same flight and heading to New Zealand. It unnerved me I must admit. I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly. He seemed friendly enough but I felt a distinct chill. Actually after that meeting I started to have the odd nightmare. The mind’s a funny thing isn’t it; gets itself all anxious and twisted for no real reason.

It was on that first visit to New Zealand that Pania (Pania Morrison my Kiwi minder) called me Saint George and talked about me slaying dragons. I assumed that was because New Zealand’s still so English. I’m no saint and I’d sure run if I crossed paths with even one dragon. Now none of that is of any interest to you so I’ll stop right here.

Looking forward to getting to know you
George Ritmeyer (UN Security Chief - International Events)