The Dual Mexican Year of Unity
As he starts an exciting new role in the United States, His Excellency Diego Gómez Pickering of Mexico earned the Grassroot Diplomat Honouree award in 2016 for his work on the Dual Year of Mexico alongside his embassy.
The pioneering activities throughout The Dual Year of Mexico in the United Kingdom was designed with the goal of better understanding of the country at grassroots level. The Dual was a broad-ranging and multisector initiative aimed at further expanding relations between governments and societies of Mexico and the UK, battling intolerance through cultural appreciation. The embassy was highly successful in using the initiative to cover economic, cultural, educational, political, technological and touristic matters – an achievement that is highly encouraged for other embassies to replicate.
In the economic sphere, the Dual Year prompted accelerated growth and commerce, including doubling bilateral trade to USD $7 billion (£4.2 billion), as well as surpassing the half a million mark for British visitors to Mexico. Politically, the Dual Year reaffirmed UK-Mexican bonds with a State Visit by President Enrique Peña Nieto, whereby 14 agreements were signed. Culturally, audiences across the British Isles were exposed to Mexico’s heritage in the form of food tastings, artistic exchanges, fashion shows, book fairs, and public displays of art. Over 140 activities took part across all reaches of the UK and 1.3 million citizens either heard about or took part in Dual Year events. The Ambassador was especially proud of the “Day of the Dead” celebration, where exhibitions at the British Museum attracted more than 10,000 visitors on the opening day.
Mr Gómez Pickering is a true grassroot diplomat, uniting two nations in a celebration of diversity and culture. He brought a piece of home to the diaspora community, while strengthening the bond and affinity between Mexicans and the UK.
In addition to this, the embassy had a very successful educational outlook and achieved a 400% increase of UK scholarships for Mexicans students as part of the Dual Year. Out of 10,000 Mexicans in the UK, 80% of them are now graduates with a hundred more scholarships made available through the initiative. The focus on educational outreach is nothing new for the Ambassador. Mr Gómez Pickering frequently met with Mexican students studying in the UK to ensure that their needs were being met. In the past, he helped to facilitate high-level relationships with PhD students to discuss how security situations in Mexico should change.
Mr Gómez Pickering clearly wants his country to be inclusive and uses his role as an ambassador to represent all of his people. His open attitude to meeting with individuals of all ages and pursuing improved educational opportunities illustrates his commitment to building a better future for all Mexicans.
The success of the Ambassador and the achievements of the Dual Year initiative have set a global policy precedent, paving the way for future Dual Years across the world. The next Dual Year will be between Mexico and Germany in 2016 and again seeks to develop mutual understanding, respect, and discovery between the two nations. The celebration of culture and differences to establish unity across the Atlantic is an impressive feat that showcases the passion and dedication of Mr Gómez Pickering and the Mexican Embassy.
Grassroot Diplomat was honoured to work alongside the Ambassador and staff at the Mexican Embassy and look forward to further engagements in strengthening civil relations.