TEN years on from a tragedy which shocked the community, the ‘homecoming’ of a special award is symbolising a fitting tribute.
On August 19, 2003, Pittenweem woman Fiona Watson, a political affairs officer with the United Nations, died with 21 peace-keeping colleagues after a terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
Fiona, who was 35, had studied at Cambridge and Heriot-Watt universities, and her family set up an award in her memory allowing a final-year Heriot-Watt student to carry out a UN internship.
And, as the 10th anniversary of Fiona’s loss approaches, the award has gone this year to an East Neuk candidate.
Natalie McKay, of Crail, will be moving to New York this autumn for a three-month internship in the UN’s Department of Peace-Keeping Operations, having graduated in interpreting and translating French and German.
Natalie said she chose this path through her love of langauges, which began at Waid Academy. She hoped to be able to travel, experience different cultures, and gain an insight into the UN’s work.
She added: “I am truly grateful to the Watson family for giving me this unique opportunity.”
The Fiona Watson Memorial Award has become a sought-after global honour for students wanting to work with the UN. Fiona’s parents, Margaret and Andrew, were especially pleased the trustees had selected someone from this country – with the East Neuk connection an added bonus. Iain Hughes, rector at Waid Academy, said Natalie McKay would be a “brilliant recipient” and added: “It’s inspirational to see that a spark of interest generated so early in secondary school could lead to a career path as tremendous as this one.”