Successes and Frustrations

Chairman Peter Botting re-caps the progresses made by Grassroot Diplomat between March - July, 2015.

Peter Botting

Peter Botting

2015 sees the dawn of the third year of Grassroot Diplomat and the close of the first year of my Chairmanship. Despite my pride in being part of this great young organisation, I and the rest of the Board, are dissatisfied and impatient.

Too many “annual reports” are complacent and self- congratulatory. You won't find that from this Board while I am Chairman. Grassroot Diplomat has had some success but we have an unending list of things to start and things to finish; and we are ambitious.

Our biggest success was staging our 3rd Grassroot Diplomat Awards - again in London. It was well attended and we even attracted some media attention (but not enough!). Sadly I was in the USA on business on the night, so my superb colleague, John Kraus, stepped up and delivered my speech in my absence.  

In it I said:  “This evening is about celebrating the work of heroes and heroines from around the world. People who have refused to excuse inaction by muttering ‘It's not my job - let someone else do it’. People who have said ‘I see it - so I must act.’ People who have said ‘I can see what needs to be done and I will not wait for a good or a perfect moment to do something’. Whether they have fought against something or fought for something - their actions rather than their knowledge have turned them into heroes and heroines. Seeing that there is a problem is not enough. In 2015, in the age of the iPhone and the internet, some countries and so-called governments seem blind to the lessons of the past and shamefully and wilfully unaware or uncaring of the value of human life.  Genocide, conflict, human trafficking and the discrimination and mistreatment of people because of their gender, religious beliefs or sexual orientation are a daily reality for millions.”

We were delighted to honour some amazing heroes and heroines who stand up for justice, peace, and good governance, and who stand against discrimination, corruption, and the lack of accountability. Still, we have much more to do to make each award ceremony better, the calibre of nominees higher, and the associated publicity wider.  

Our second success has been the strengthening of the Grassroot Diplomat team. You can find the full current board and staffing details on our website. It is hard to find volunteers who have the time, skills, and calibre to be of value to Grassroot Diplomat, but we are getting better. Until our resources and our fundraising and fee-earning improves, we shall have to continue with our ever-improving volunteer team under the leadership of our incredibly hard-working and very driven Chief Executive Talyn Rahman-Figueroa. We will continue to strengthen and professionalise the team and the organisation.  Our third success has been the increasing awareness of Grassroot Diplomat both in Westminster and within the UK-based embassy and high commission community. We have not finished that job either, but each year we have to explain and describe ourselves less, and has in turn increased the quality and the quantity of the entrants for the awards ceremony.

Like a young horse with increasingly confident legs, we are making progress and getting ready to sprint towards our goal. But we have much work ahead of us in terms of what we can do, what we would like to do, and what we need to do within the organisation; as well as in attracting the right people and resources to achieve these goals. We are not limited by our ambitions but only by our resources and our management time. This has meant us consciously building and protecting our brand by focusing only on what we can do well with what we have.

On behalf of the Board, I thank everyone who has contributed in any way to Grassroot Diplomat - including fellow Board members and, of course, our fantastic founding Chief Executive Talyn, without whom we would not have started or progressed. Our progress is due to you, and we thank you. If you want to hear more about our plans or feel you'd be able to contribute ideas, time, money or resources to support us in attaining or expanding our goals, or accelerating their timetables, please contact our Chief Exec Talyn on mstalyn@grassrootdiplomat.org.

We would be delighted to meet you.   

Peter Botting
Chairman

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