Ambassadors and High Commissioners from over 80 countries (and diplomats from over 100 countries) attended Diplomat magazine’s 2015 annual Awards Ceremony in the glorious surroundings of the Ballroom at The Langham London hotel on Monday 20 April. Diplomat presented 10 awards to some of the most influential diplomats based in the UK. The 250-plus guests were treated to a champagne reception and canapés prepared by the hotel chefs.
In its seventh year, the awards ceremony recognises the outstanding work and achievements of London’s diplomatic community, members of which are trying to better their nations’ well-being. Diplomat magazine identified 10 categories, and winners were nominated by their peers. The evening welcomed the massed ranks of London’s diplomatic corps, at what has become a key date in the capital’s diplomatic calendar. Veteran diplomat Charles Crawford CMG was the Master of Ceremonies, and he ran the show with immense slickness and wit.
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala won the 2015 Distinguished Contribution to Diplomacy in London award. Praised as an example of “diplomacy in its finest definition,” Her Highness was described as “not only a bridge between Africa and Europe, but a bridge between Africa and Latin America.”
The popular award for the evening went to the High Commissioner for Cyprus His Excellency Euripides Evriviades for Diplomat of the Year from Europe, and huge cheers were heard as the award for Diplomat of the Year from Central and South America went to the Ambassador of Honduras His Excellency Ivan Romero-Martinez.
Diplomat of the Year from the Middle East went to the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates His Excellency Abdulrahman Almutaiwee, who was said to have devoted his posting to “sensitive Middle Eastern issues in a subtle and conciliatory manner,” and the Diplomat of the Year from Asia to the Ambassador of the Philippines His Excellency Mr Enrique A. Manalo for successfully boosting relations between his country and the UK. Diplomat of the Year from Africa went to Ambassador of Ethiopia His Excellency Berhanu Kebede, lauded for transforming the public profile of his country, now one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. The Diplomat of the Year from Eurasia went to the Russian Ambassador His Excellency Alexander Yakovenko, who was praised for opening his embassy and residence to seminars designed to improve dialogue with other countries. Diplomat of the Year from North America and the Caribbean went to the High Commissioner for St Kitts and Nevis His Excellency Kevin Issac, who was celebrated for promoting the interests of small states in international decision-making.
Young Diplomat of the Year went to the “incredibly dynamic” President of the Consular Corps Christiaan Sys from the Belgian Embassy, and the Contribution to the Press Corps award to Oksana Kyzyma from the Ukrainian Embassy, who was responsible for organising over 90 prominent interviews with her country’s officials and public figures last year.
The evening was sponsored by The Langham, London, International Diplomatic Supplies, International Hospitals Group, The Ambassador Partnership and the London Academy of Diplomacy. For the sixth year running, Cleave and Co produced the unique awards for the winners.
With over 180 diplomatic missions, a posting in London remains one of the highlights of any diplomat’s career. Host of the event, Diplomat’s Editor, Venetia de Blocq van Kuffeler, said: “This is an award ceremony for diplomats, with the award-winners voted for by diplomats. The only one of its kind in the world. This evening is not about politics or policies. It’s about people and professionalism.”