Surely, diplomats should do more...

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, CEO of Grassroot Diplomat, thinks out loud on how diplomats have capabilities to do more. Check out her musings in her latest Founder's Blog.

Photo Credit: Matt Collamer

Photo Credit: Matt Collamer

As usual, Grassroot Diplomat is going through a motion of change. I believe this to be a good thing because change keeps us on our toes, it keeps us sharp, and it keeps us relevant. Over the last three months, we have been interviewing potential Board Members to join the organisation and during this time, a whole flurry of new concerns and innovations have surfaced for the Board’s attention. It has also been occupying much of my thoughts.

We all know that diplomacy has evolved over the past decade with citizens playing a more prominent, albeit less official role, in representing their country and values. Ordinary people have been empowered to change stereotypes about themselves and are going out of their way to make change happen on a more political front. But how do very traditional diplomats see their roles in this modern society? Are they willing to serve just beyond their national interest and do they even think it is relevant to do so?

We have a new challenge on our hands to pull in traditional diplomats to our work. I say “traditional” because these are seasoned professionals who strongly believe that their job is to serve the national interest and deliver its foreign policy abroad, no matter who they work for – and that is all. To be frank, that vision doesn’t work for us because I believe diplomats are far more capable to truly lead at a local level but refuse to work beyond the call of duty.

Perhaps we still have a long way to go on how we brand ourselves and how we work with such diplomats. Nevertheless, this gives my Board and I some food for thought on what our next steps will be. Our organisation is evolving because the people within it are evolving. We are no longer just stuck in the UK. In fact, none of our Board members operates from just within the UK and the executive team are spread out across three continents. We are fluid. We are mobile. We are entrepreneurial. We are everywhere.

But I look forward to building a stronger base in Washington DC and Brussels, along with London – we will be present in the top three populated diplomatic communities in the world. And we will come prepared with solutions, practical engagements, and innovations that the work of diplomacy truly needs and deserves.

My thinking for this month has been focused on closing two large projects but I rush to think about what our next big project will be. I think I have answered my own ponderings through this blog but I assert that we still need fresh faces in our team who can help us grow our base, revenue and impact. If you think you have what it takes to push us to the next level, get in touch with us and tell me what you can do for us. I’m not just interested in ideas. Rather, I am looking for people with real skills and networks that can bring about change because at the end of the day, an idea is just a plan and a plan needs to be worked. If you can’t make it work, then is it even worth trying?

Get in touch. I can’t wait to speak to you.


Eagerly waiting,

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa
CEO, Grassroot Diplomat