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2017 November

AS THE HULLABALLOO of Brexit continues to dominate proceedings, the UK must prepare to embark on its ambitious new journey. Bernard Jenkin MP reports on the underlying long-term anxiety about how Britain will promote free markets, capitalism and globalisation at the recent Conservative Party Conference. In his contribution for Diplomat, Lord Waverley outlines his concerns on the subject, stating that the UK will only succeed in increasing exports and securing future trade agreements if it is innovative in thinking. He even suggests a supercharged civil service exploring initiatives like a Commonwealth free trade area. He says: “We are on the starter blocks of a long journey, poised for the off. The prize: a successful global Britain, a critical link to an interconnected world, a vital hub for international commerce and increased exports.” Rousing words.

Jasper Parrott argues that the UK has modernised and grown in diversity, influence and prosperity as a major partner in the European project. He discusses Brexit and the lasting damage to the UK’s cultural prospects. After all, he says, “Music, the arts and all forms of creative culture have long demonstrated how they can bring us all closer together in a mutually uplifting and non-discriminatory way.” The BBC’s James Landale recalls for Diplomat the frenzied diplomacy that took place at the UN General Assembly in September, and provides an amusing account of shadowing the Foreign Minister, an old colleague from Brussels. In a more serious message, Rupert Scofield says the prospects for Africa’s youth population look bleak. He suggests better economic opportunities such as microfinance could lead them out of poverty and the cold embrace of extremism.

Diplomat also has a contribution from the Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation about the body’s firstn Science and Technology Summit. Taking place in Kazakhstan, the summit aimed to generate consensus among 57 member-states on key reforms that could revitalise science and technology across the Islamic world. On average, Muslim-majority countries spend less than 0.5 per cent of their GDP on research and development, compared with five times that in developed economies, so this is a very real concern. He says the scientific deficit has “undoubtedly held the Islamic world back from driving innovations essential to compete in the global economy.”

Looking back John McHugo tackles the complicated issue of how time has affected the Sunni-Shi‘i divide, which acts as the underlying cause of various conflicts that continue to dominate our headlines. In the present day, Chatham House recently said that the end of the driving ban for women in Saudi Arabia ‘reflects deep changes in society.’ Diplomat meets the first Saudi (woman) to head a UN agency, Dr Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, to discuss empowerment and her country’s transformation.

As always, Diplomat reviews the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting the Ambassadors of Belgium, Lithuania, Paraguay and Uzbekistan, along with the High Commissioner for Lesotho.

In the lifestyle section, Diplomat explores Rosewood London’s beautiful Garden House Wing, and enjoys fine French dining with wines to match at Les 110 de Taillevent London. Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and arts reviews, including the 2017 World Press Photo Exhibition, and the Spanish Masterpieces exhibition at The Wallace Collection.

Finally, I always want to hear from you, our readers, on article suggestions, new appointments, local news and other embassy events that you would like covered. Please contact me on vvk@diplomatmagazine.com


Venetia de Blocq van Kuffeler

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