I have just hit on an idea about what I might do to keep myself busy for the rest of my life: I want to become a United Nations rapporteur.
What exactly is a rapporteur? You may well ask. Even I, with my vast vocabulary and intuitive grasp of word-derivations, found myself unable to explain the word’s meaning, so I looked up the word in the Oxford English Dictionary. There it’s defined as “a person who is appointed by an organization to report on the proceedings of its meetings”.
That doesn’t exactly chime with the role as interpreted by the UN, which uses rapporteurs to report on how various countries are responding to some of the pressing social problems of our times. But never mind. What’s in a title, anyway?
All in all, Raquel, a job well done.
This very week another rapporteur, one Rashid Manjoo, after a stressful 16-day visit, has ‘rapported’ her findings in an investigation of violence against women.
All this sounds like fun, and worthwhile. And it can’t be too onerous. It involves lots of travel, which always broadens the mind. And how taxing can it be to investigate what is widely accepted as the glaringly obvious.
Of course, there’s the chore of writing it all up at the end of the trip, in order to justify the expense claims, but that doesn’t present a problem to an old Fleet Street hack like me. And I could probably save the time and effort by writing my reports on the plane before arriving.
I think my first trip will be to
After that, I’ll pop next door to
My final stop will be
These little excursions will do nicely for a start, and give me much-needed practice. Then I’ll feel more confident venturing farther afield, perhaps to
There are so many problems in the world that rapporteurs must be in great demand. Perhaps that will mean I’ll have to go on an interminable waiting list – like all those pitiable Britons who can’t find a place to live.
It’s worth a shot, even so, and it’s not as if I have anything better to do with my time.