Introspective from Brexit and the end of 2016

Cherisse Rao (Non-Executive Director) summarises activities of September - December 2016 and provides hope for 2017.

Cherisse Rao

Cherisse Rao

This period serves as a time for introspection, as well as a time to look beyond the events that shook the foundations of the world. With events such as Britain’s decision to exit the EU, the unprecedented refugee crisis across Europe, a failed military coup in Turkey, the alleged successful H-bomb test by North Korea, and Donald Trump’s election as US President, 2016 will forever be known as the “Year of the Black Swan”. It is, therefore, no wonder that the Board of Grassroot Diplomat has had to shift both our perception and our approach to how the organisation would tackle its objectives against a backdrop of anger, aggression and assertion.

Conversely, 2016 also ushered in many positive developments. We have had a scientific breakthrough in the fight against the spread of HIV. The Zika virus was downgraded as a world threat. We witnessed the maiden flight of the world’s first solar powered plane. The landmark Paris Climate Change agreement saw 55 countries with 55 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions agreeing to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. 

Touching on these events highlights a core truth: we as global citizens are resilient. Where there is uncertainty, we will respond with truth. Where there is division, we will seek to build bridges. Where there is conflict, we will strive to uphold the values that enshrine our very sense of humanity. These objectives have been central to the growth and development of Grassroot Diplomat. In 2016, we conducted a full refresh of the Board, welcoming four Non-Executive Directors who have added rigour and insight to our strategic direction and future goals. Our Advisory Council was strengthened by the addition of four highly respected professionals hailing from diverse backgrounds. These significant changes have allowed us to not only usher in a new era for the organisation, but to also re-assess the value and purpose of what we do. 

With this in mind, we are immensely proud to announce the launch of the Grassroot Diplomat Academy in 2017. The Academy will offer a bi-monthly podcast series that seeks to tackle burning issues, live webinars covering the application of modern diplomacy practices, and support by way of coaching and core skills training. We shall also look to provide guidance with the publication of our Brexit Diplomatic Handbook in early 2017, that unpacks not only the background to the EU referendum, but practical steps in handling social tensions as likely outcomes from triggering Article 50.

As 2017 fast approaches, we as your Board and Advisors will seek to enshrine the new slogan for Grassroot Diplomat: providing effective diplomacy for a modern civil society. Please do keep up to date with our news and developments via our host of social media outlets, and support us as we continue to grow.

Finally, I would like to pay a special tribute to Grassroot Diplomat’s core team under the guidance of our CEO, Talyn Rahman-Figueroa. They continue to work tirelessly and with great perseverance to implement the recommendations of the Board and Advisors. They are truly the unsung heroes of this organisation, and I encourage you all to congratulate and stand by them as we take time to reflect on the successes of 2016 and look ahead to roll out the full spectrum of Grassroot Diplomat’s activities in the New Year.