President of Young Diplomats in London, Wilfred T. Adderley II discusses building a longer lasting, closer network
Founded by a group of junior diplomats who sought an organisation that would provide a social outlet as well as networking opportunities for their colleagues, Young Diplomats in London (YDL) began in 2002 and last year celebrated its 15th anniversary.
During this time, YDL’s membership has grown to about 3,000 members within the diplomatic, civil service and private sectors, and is supported by high-level corporate sponsors including BMW, Hamptons International, the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, the Taj hotel group, and International Diplomatic Supplies. YDL is also delighted to enjoy the continued support of Alistair Harrison GMG CVO, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps.
With the help of its sponsors and supporters, YDL has been able to organise networking events focusing on key topics in the world of diplomacy, and also social get-togethers that allow for a classy, but fun filled atmosphere.
YDL’s Breakfast Talks hosted by the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill have become a highlight of our calendar, discussing the latest topics from the world of international relations. Guest speakers at these talks are experts within their respective fields of international politics, law, economics and trade, and have so far included former President of the Liberal Democrats Lord Dholakia OBE DL and Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa programmes at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC Dr Laith Kubba, along with former British Ambassadors HE John Everard and HE Robert Brinkley CMG.
Although YDL places a strong emphasis on feeding the mind and intellect of its members, it also seeks to foster an environment of camaraderie through its social events, receptions, and our annual ball. This year members had the wonderful opportunity to attend BMW’s exclusive launch and first look at the new BMW X2 and BMW M5 series’. Members also attended a lovely showcase of the Private View of Artrooms Fair 2018. Hamptons International hosted a Jazz and Champagne evening on the terrace of one of their beautiful properties in central London overlooking its distinctive skyline. IDS continues to offer YDL great support, providing high-end wines and spirits for our events. And, to unwind after a long day’s work, members came to our ‘Chill Out,’ ‘Night of Rock,’ ‘Let’s get Tramped’ and ‘Gin and Jazz’ parties held at Tramp, one of London’s most exclusive members clubs.
The YDL Black and White Ball is our most anticipated event of the year and has proven to be a fun occasion where our members, sponsors and partners are able to dress elegantly and enjoy a lovely dinner at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill and IDS. Last year’s ‘Masquerade’ event in celebration of YDL’s 15th anniversary allowed guests to accessorise with Venetian-style masks. This year, YDL is excited to host another memorable event on 29 September 2018: the Black and White ‘Viennese’ Ball. In keeping with tradition, YDL will host a raffle where proceeds from the evening will go towards assisting children in Darfur through our charity sponsor, Kids for Kids.
Beyond our love for organising events, YDL offers an exceptional opportunity for members to network and build relationships, both of which are essential within the world of diplomacy and international relations. Networking provides young diplomats with an opportunity to meet their fellow colleagues and to become better acquainted with the diplomatic community and living in the UK. It introduces new and potential partners and can help in re-establishing past partnerships. Networking leads to relationship building that is essential for advancing likeminded interests, sharing knowledge, and deepening cooperation, all of which are key elements of diplomacy.
These core values are at the centre of YDL’s outreach, which has allowed the organisation to attract new partners and opportunities for future events and community building.
Earlier this year, it was an absolute honour to have been selected and warmly welcomed as the President of this amazing organisation. I am proud to carry on YDL’s legacy and also add to my country’s legacy serving as the second President from the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The YDL Executive Committee comprises charismatic young diplomats and officers, all of whom have given me and the organisation great support in their work. Our successes could not have been achieved without them, and the relationships built will be long-lasting.
As YDL moves forward to another decade, we will ensure that the organisation continues to be a quintessential part of the diplomatic community, welcoming new young diplomats to London and the UK, keeping tradition, but also moving with the times through building a closer network.