Acting High Commissioner of Maldives Mr Ahmed Shiaan has been shortlisted out of 70 candidates this year for the 2nd Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. Mr Shiaan is nominated under the Policy Driver category for his persistent contribution on tackling small state island issues. 

The Maldives has experienced a rather testing period in its recent history, but this difficult time has now been drawn to a peaceful conclusion with the success of the Presidential Elections in November 2013. Despite such challenging times, individuals such as Mr Shiaan have always remained steadfast in the face of adversity and strived to ensure the country moved forward with stability and optimism. Mr Shiaan is a firm believer in the freedom of democracy and liberty for all peoples of the Maldives and since his appointment as Acting High Commissioner, he has increased efforts to elevate the image and influence of the Maldives both in the United Kingdom and Europe at large.   

Mr Shiaan has always held bold and ambitious aspirations for the small island nation. During his tenure as Head of Mission, Mr Shiaan has been a huge contributor to creating awareness of the great challenges small island developing states face within the Commonwealth of Nations. He has always advocated that all states, irrespective of size must have a voice in the international arena and has strived to be that voice for the smallest and most vulnerable. Mr Shiaan strongly believes in the economic and social values and principles of the Commonwealth and continues to play an active and supportive role as the Commonwealth develops and moves forward as an organisation.  

According to the Acting High Commissioner, the majority of the country’s GDP is generated from the Tourism industry. It is therefore inevitable that the principal focus for Mr Shiaan is promoting the islands for their world-renowned hospitality and seafaring culture. In this regard, Mr Shiaan has been key in spearheading initiatives to attract direct investment interest towards the Maldives in the Energy, Tourism, Financial and sustainable Infrastructure Development sectors. Mr Shiaan has shown innovation and originality in promoting Maldives as a top destination and its interests internationally.

Mr Shiaan has adapted himself to being a very flexible diplomat who puts his hands on any issue that requires his country’s attention. He takes a personal interest in all issues, making him an expert on a wide range of topics and is able to communicate very well with young people in driving Maldives’ future. Mr Shiaan prides himself on greater interaction with the Maldivian Diaspora in the UK and has increased efforts to address any problems they may face. Most notably, Mr Shiaan played a crucial role in simplifying the visa application process for Maldivian students hoping to study in the United Kingdom and continues to lobby for a permanent solution. As a small mission, Mr Shiaan and his team are stretched but his positive and go to attitude means Maldives remains a notable voice in the international arena.

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “The award illustrates that we do have government representatives that actively work on meeting the people’s needs and we must focus on bringing more positive role models into society and diminish negative news - that is the grassroot diplomacy way”.  

Join Ahmed Shiaan and other government nominees at The Mayfair Hotel, London on Thursday 15th May 2014 where the awards ceremony will be hosted by TV Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. For ticket information please visit: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/awards

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