Oxford Forum for International Development

The Oxford Forum for International Development is the UK’s highest profile student-led conference, run entirely by students of the University of Oxford. With about 500 participants, the Director of Grassroot Diplomat Ms Talyn Rahman-Figueroa was invited to present a workshop on “Bridging the Gap between Civil Society and Political Leaders”. On a bright sunny day and competing with three other workshops, at least 60 students attended to hear a visual presentation about the latest innovation in diplomacy.  

On Saturday 25th February, Talyn presented a 75-minute workshop as part of the morning series on ‘New Approaches to Development’. The workshop was followed by a highly anticipated keynote speech presented by journalist and author Ms Linda Polman. Talyn gave a 25-minute presentation about the innovation of grassroots diplomacy before moving on to the Q&A session. Once the students were provided with the context of Talyn’s ideas, students were put into small groups who then presented their ideas on other methods on bridging the gap to the rest of the audience. This had allowed students to think more deeply and clearly about why it is so important that governments actively listen to civil society and how using diplomatic strategies can achieve this.