In January 2021, we lost our much-loved Director Dr Norman Houston OBE. His legacy lives on through the many treasured relationships we have, our projects and through our values.
Our Director, Conor Houston, wrote this poem in tribute to our late friend:
The Diplomat – A Tribute to Dr Norman Houston OBE
“Good morning Mr Norman!” a joyful voice would beam;
As you walked the large atrium to your office.
Dapperly dressed, immaculately presented with a bright bow tie.
At your desk, you devoted yourself to a day of pursing excellence in public service, diligent negotiation & making everyone feel important.
‘The only person you need to know in DC!’
Connected, charming – a joy to be in your presence;
You revelled in bringing people together.
Receptions, breakfasts, drinks & speeches –
All were made at home at Winfield Lane
Or when you showed us around The White House!
Modest, humble and self-deprecating – ‘just a wee lad from Larne!’
Your kindness, thoughtfulness & refreshing authenticity
Allowed you to truly touch the lives & hearts of all you met.
A gentleman to the core, infused with style, compassion & grace;
You could ‘talk with crowds and keep your virtue’
And yet walk with Presidents without losing your touch’.
From Presidents to First Ministers,
You transcended even The Atlantic to build bridges
From your beloved homeland to the heart of America.
Your passion was peace, your purpose was relationship-building;
A convenor of people, you put all at their ease;
Nothing was a problem – “just leave it with me”, you’d say.
You spent your life empowering & helping others;
A young person, an ‘outsider’ or someone in need of a break:
You took them under your wing.
You had a rare quality of wishing people well in their life.
You were the embodiment of kindness. And you truly cared.
And I was blessed by the gift of your friendship.
We shared laughter, tears and plotted out our dreams;
‘Young man’, ‘my wee friend’ or ‘the other Conor’ you’d call me;
You were a rock, a mentor and my sage.
From our plans that weren’t to be, to memories I shall always treasure.
Your greatest love, pride and devotion
Was your children of whom you were so proud.
You leave them and all of us with an incredible legacy:
You lit up the world Norman, and filled it with love.
Conor Patrick Houston