Bringing Diplomatic Coaching to the Royal Holloway Diplomatic Society

Members of the Royal Holloway Diplomatic Society had the honour of meeting Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, CEO of Grassroot Diplomat.

As a diplomatic consultative group, Grassroot Diplomat’s slogan is “Bridging the gap between governments and civil society.” This is done via various projects that the group supports all over the world (at the moment Canada, Pakistan, Ghana among others) in order to really make the people and their needs and interests, part of the international decision making process.

Grassroot Diplomat was established by 26-year old Talyn in June 2011, in order to realise her wish to bring forth a real contribution to the international diplomatic process. Before founding the group, Talyn had gained excellent academic and professional experience through her studies in Japanese and Management at SOAS, and in Diplomatic Studies at the Diplomatic Academy of London, as well as through training in Morocco, the European Union Commission and the UN Headquarters in New York.

Talyn’s coaching session was extremely inspiring, motivating and eye-opening. The students, most of whom will be graduating in July, felt like they could relate to Talyn’s stories and were grateful for her availability to answer any question about how the group works and how it was set up. The audience was provided with an insightful version of how a possible career in diplomatic relations can develop. This was especially true at the practical workshop, where each student introduced him or herself, as well as his or her future professional aims. Talyn offered her advice about how to best realise one’s ambitions.

As the Royal Holloway Diplomatic Society’s aim is to bring students with a strong interest in international affairs closer to the world of diplomacy, having Talyn speak to the Society’s members was definitely a rewarding experience. This event fitted very nicely in the series of events that have been organised by the Society, but it also brought something different. While the previous events had seen the Ambassador of Belgium, the Ambassador of Switzerland, the First Secretary at the Russian Embassy in London, the former British Ambassador to Slovenia, and other diplomatic figures, speak to the students in the lecture theatres, over a glass of wine, or during lunch in the official residences, the Director of Grassroot Diplomat opened a new window in the students’ knowledge of diplomacy; that window uncovered the world of diplomatic consultative groups.

All in all the meeting was very successful, the audience felt like it gained a lot from attending the event, and the Royal Holloway Diplomatic Society hopes to see Talyn again in the near future. She has definitely helped bridge the gap between us - students with a vivid interest in diplomacy - and the world of the future.

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