Happy New Year from the Board of Directors

Non-Executive Director John Kraus talks progress in 2015 as the Board closes the year with a sigh of relief.

John Kraus

John Kraus

2015 was the year when Grassroot Diplomat found its feet. One of our key goals was to professionalise and strengthen the Grassroot Diplomat team. Our Chief Executive, Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, has taken the plunge to devote herself full-time to driving the transition from fledgling organisation to established brand. We have also recently welcomed four directors – for events, partnerships, operations, and training and development – and grown our research and publishing teams. As we have built our capacity to deliver, we have further strengthened our non-executive team with the arrival of Councillor Karen Bellamy, a former Grassroot Diplomat award winner and dedicated champion of community work, as well as corporate law specialist Cherisse Rao who worked with mining company Anglo American.

With a stronger team, we have begun to build a focussed programme of activity. We have grown our recognition within Parliament and the diplomatic community. Our inaugural Alumni Networking meeting in the House of Commons on 16 November, hosted by Debbie Abrahams MP, brought together Grassroot Diplomat award winners, honourees, diplomats, businesses leaders and social entrepreneurs. Our Grassroot Diplomat Quarterly magazine has matured, and now attracts a loyal readership. We have refreshed our Diplomatic Leadership Training programme, with the first of the new courses scheduled to take place in Tirana, Albania early next year. We have also laid the ground for an exciting programme in the UK that has the potential to establish us as a leading convener of stakeholders in the field of community relations.

There is much more to report, but these are the highlights from our planned work.

One unplanned highlight occurred in September when the Labour Party elected Jeremy Corbyn MP as its new leader, in an unforgettable demonstration of grassroots opinion. Mr Corbyn was one of the very first Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award Honourees, in recognition of his outstanding support to non-government organisations across the United Kingdom.

The Board would like to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to Grassroot Diplomat. All we achieve is dependent on your time, energy and commitment. 

We are always looking for people who share our values of making a positive contribution to society and who believe that governments should put the interests of people before political self-interest.

 If you can contribute ideas and time – or financial and material support - to help us fulfil our aims, please contact our Chief Executive Talyn on mstalyn@grassrootdiplomat.org

We would be delighted to hear from you.  

John Kraus