AFTER A LOVELY SUMMER, it’s now heads down and back to work in the diplomatic community, but also time to meet and greet all the new faces who have arrived in the capital over the summer. One thing I’ve noticed, is that each of the Heads of Mission I interviewed for this issue, was returning to London in some kind of capacity. One had formerly served as Deputy Head of Mission, another had been Director of their Cultural Institute, and so on, but what’s clear is that governments around the world continue to send the best of their diplomats to London, not only to make sense of Brexit and keep up with the ongoing debates but also to tackle the potential challenges and opportunities that may arise from new bilateral relationships.
Our cover story celebrates the centenary of Czechoslovakia, which takes place at the end of October. Our friend and constant supporter, the Ambassador of Slovakia, contemplates whether we should be celebrating a state that ceased to exist 25 years ago? He says ‘yes’: both Slovakia and the Czech Republic remember their common state with great respect and gratitude.
Britain has a new Foreign Secretary, and our regular contributor and expert on these matters Simon McGee has written about all it. As Boris Johnson’s former press secretary, he should know. McGee says: “Boris used to speak of the EU referendum result leading to plaster falling from the ceilings of European chancelleries: Hunt will no doubt see his job as making repairs to those ceilings and bolstering relationships in a way that perhaps only a Foreign Secretary who had voted Remain in 2016 can.” And perhaps he’s well-placed as McGee observes that Hunt’s years at the helm of the NHS have left him “battle hardened and shrewd.”
This October, Britain is hosting a major international conference on the illegal wildlife trade. Involving heavyweight delegations from various parts of the world, the conference will bring together global leaders to help better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction. And so, the BBC’s James Landale writes an amusing account of ‘animal diplomacy’ through the ages. Aside from the Ambassador of Slovakia, we also have contributions in this edition from diplomats from the Zambian and Bahamas High Commissions. As always, Diplomat reviews the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting the Ambassador of Austria, along with the High Commissioners for The Gambia, Malta and Tonga.
In the lifestyle pages, Diplomat wines and dines at Mexican sensation Ella Canta, housed in the InterContinental London Park Lane, and experiences the gloriously redesigned Bloomsbury Hotel. Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice for the months ahead, including the major Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterworks on display at the National Gallery, and Malaysia’s leading hospitality group YTL Hotels partnering with Save Wild Tigers in an exclusive exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
VENETIA DE BLOCQ VAN KUFFELER