One of the best comments I ever got when telling people why I never became a diplomat was the statement: “Girl, you’re going rogue!” There are a very high number of people in the corporate world who dream of becoming an Ambassador. In movie-like fashion, they lust after the power of leading negotiations and be given a grand title that is otherwise absent in the world of business. Civil servants, in the same breath, push themselves to accelerate their careers and accept challenges that could put them on the fast track to foreign mission promotions.
We talk a lot about building effective relationships based on trust, so let’s start with us. I’ve been working hard in the shadows for some years now but I’ve been coaxed by my team and many of you to come out and be more visible.
Entrepreneurship is seen as one of the most sustainable job generation tools in Africa as one of the key ingredients to addressing youth unemployment in the continent. Yet, not enough is being done by governments to support entrepreneurs looking to disrupt the African market currently dominated by China.
The year began with the war in Syria entering its sixth year, the impeachment of South Korean President igniting discussion of its ripple effect to other nations, the warrant of a North Korean diplomat for the assassination of Kim Jong-nam and the worst humanitarian crisis unfolding in Africa. How we respond to these issues will help shape the kind of society and future we wish to have. Grassroot Diplomat has sought to meet the challenges facing societies head on.
Diplomats will always have a role in representing their national governments, sometimes at the cost of their personal liberty, values, and beliefs. When quitting is not the answer, the other option is to manage the situation without government policies reflecting personally on you. What will you do if you disagree with your government?
A diplomatic career path is not as clear as a doctor is. Diplomats come from all backgrounds and professions, and through my training with Grassroot Diplomat, I learnt exactly why.
After much ardent commitment, Rehman Chishti MP successfully influenced his government to refer to the terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State as “Daesh” as part of daily rhetoric to move away from the peaceful message of Islam.
Time and time again, sports-based programs have shown to be central to promoting inclusion and creating opportunities for individuals as a means to establish mutual trust and create healthier communities.
A prime example of discrimination can be found where deeply embedded cultures make discrimination invisible, such as senior political offices held by white males, followed by an inherent need for women or younger people of colour to join.
I am Alison Johnson, a member of Grassroot Diplomat. I am a motivational speaker and trainer, having worked in the education sector for over 20 years. I have spent many years involved with vulnerable children and young people, engaging with their families, and have sat on many governing bodies, fostering panels and advisory committees for non-profit organisations.
Not only has Karen Lumley MP taken a particular interest in the concerns of these workplaces, she has also made a tremendous effort in reducing unemployment, particularly in ensuring that the younger generation grow up with a vast array of entrepreneurial skills.
Accepting the award on behalf of the embassy, Chargé d’Affaires Theodor Cosmin Onisii viewed the award as a great honour, one that will motivate him and other members of the Romanian community to continue their work with a renewed belief that it will lead to positive outcomes.
A recently-made Olympic star, Belgian-born Emmanuel Stockbroekx recently brought home a silver medal from winning the hockey finals at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, proudly titled “Man of the Game” and the Grassroot Diplomat Citizen of the Month.
Welcoming our newest cohort, Jamaican High Commissioner Aloun Ndombet-Assamba won the 2016 Policy Driver Award for her lobbying efforts in reforming the Air Passenger Duty affecting tourism between the UK and the Caribbean.
The winter issue of Grassroot Diplomat Quarterly magazine is out now. Issue #8 looks into eye-witness accounts of bigotry, xenophobia, and government shackles, with top tips on how to deal with government indiscretions and uplifting stories of award-winning government officials creating hope on the ground.
With events such as Britain’s decision to exit the EU, the unprecedented refugee crisis across Europe, a failed military coup in Turkey, the alleged successful H-bomb test by North Korea, and Donald Trump’s election as US President, 2016 will forever be known as the “Year of the Black Swan”.
As he starts an exciting new role in the United States, His Excellency Diego Gómez Pickering of Mexico earned the Honouree award this year for his work on the Dual Year of Mexico alongside his embassy.
Aged 29, Michael Teoh describes himself as an “Educational Entrepreneur” whose passion in helping young people unleash their true potential has led him to inspire 1,000,000 millennials to become change makers. His social company, Thriving Talents has conducted training sessions with Fortune 500 companies, NGOs and governments across 39 countries including presenting a workshop in the presence of President Barack Obama during his visit to Malaysia.
During the referendum campaign I was manning a market stall in a very prosperous part of southern England. A town with high employment, low benefits claimant count and a tradition of new comers making it home since the war, a place with big international companies and a thriving economy.
Thousands from around the country and across the world gathered for this Jenazah, a traditional Muslim funeral prayer service. The service has readings from an Imam as well as a pastor, rabbi, and reverend. It is not only a mourning for the departed, but a celebration of interfaith relations. It is the funeral of Muhammed Ali.