Today, ASEAN is considered to be the world’s greatest emerging economy, with a huge market of over 620 million people. As a single economic community, ASEAN is the world’s seventh largest market, and home to 10 per cent of the world’s population. “With a GDP expected to grow 5 per cent each year by 2018, it is projected to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2050,” says Ambassador of the Philippines Antonio M. Lagdameo, as his country chairs the organisation during its 50th anniversary year.
Continuing to focus on Asia, the City of London Corporation’s Special Advisor for Asia Sherry Madera considers what some Asian countries think about Brexit. The first thing she notes is that “it is abundantly clear that while Britain is talking about Brexit, Asia is talking about business.” She says these countries are attracted to London’s diversity of business, finance and culture. Let’s hope it stays that way…
Another theme in this issue of Diplomat magazine is diplomatic language. The BBC’s James Landale says the language used by diplomats is now more important than ever during the Brexit negotiations. He cites the example of a row over words developing into a conflict between nations: in 1889, Italy and Ethiopia went to war over a verb. Former FCO Director of Foreign Language Training John Moore also takes a light-hearted approach to British diplomats and their foreign language skills throughout the ages. He pinpoints two components of language proficiency: formal accuracy and practical effectiveness. Through the ages, it seems that diplomats have often focused on the latter rather than the former, with sometimes amusing consequences!
We also publish important contributions from the Ambassador of Israel on ‘Dinnertime Diplomacy,’ and the Ambassador of Gabon on the 2017 Africa Day celebrations.
A colleague at the US Embassy recently introduced me to Kashif ‘Kash’ Siddiqi, co-founder of global sports diplomacy movement, Football for Peace. They recently co-organised the highest-altitude match ever approved by FIFA, at 5,429 metres – a Guinness World Record – taking place beneath the crater at Mount Kilimanjaro. Over 30 women from six continents met in Tanzania for the match to raise awareness for equality in sport. Read all about it, and much more, in this issue.
As always, Diplomat reviews the Credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting the Ambassadors of Afghanistan and Thailand, along with the High Commissioner for New Zealand.
In the lifestyle section, Diplomat enjoys an overnight stay in the stunningly-restored Batty Langley’s in Spitalfields, and revisits an old haunt in a new location, Boisdale of Mayfair. Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and arts reviews, including the Royal Asiatic Society in its new location, and the Opera exhibition at the V&A opening at the end of September.
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