IN THE LAST issue of Diplomat magazine, I wrote “here we are, less than 10 days ahead of the date the UK is due to leave the European Union, still unclear about what’s going to happen. Ambassadors and diplomats accredited to the Court of St James’s continue to wait on some concrete information to report back to their capitals.” And it goes on. The situation is still unclear. The newspapers have moved on to other issues of the day: Extinction Rebellion protests brought London to a standstill; a new royal baby has been born, and dates for Donald Trump’s official state visit have finally been announced. But more on that later.
Former MP and new Diplomat contributor Charlotte Leslie says we should take a long-term view on Brexit and stop trying to guess the immediate outcomes and consequences. Admittedly that’s not much help for diplomats reporting back to their capital, but she says that massive political change is in the air in the UK, and although alarming, Parliament is in the process of reshaping itself to “more accurately reflect the clamour of reality outside its walls.” This article does provide some clarity on the issue.
On her country’s National Day, Ambassador of Georgia Tamar Beruchashvili discusses Georgia’s way to Freedom and Independence. Ahead of the Second European Games, the Ambassador of Belarus, Sergei Aleinik, reports on this important sporting event due to take place in Minsk this June. Former Foreign Office press secretary Simon McGee, executive director at APCO Worldwide, explains for Diplomat how the US state visit invitation came about, and contrary to the criticism, why it has already proved useful. He says that behind the scenes, the invitation has provided a useful avenue for engagement with the White House on much larger issues. On the subject of entertaining, James Landale, diplomatic correspondent for BBC News, makes various amusing observations – present and past – about that most popular tool of diplomacy: alcohol!
Speaking of entertaining the diplomatic community, I hosted the Diplomat of the Year Awards Ceremony last week. I’ve included plenty of coverage on the winners and guests in this issue – do take a look. Thank you to our sponsors: Cleave & Co for the awards, International Diplomatic Supplies for the champagne, Jumeirah Carlton Tower for hosting us in their beautiful ballroom, and Burke Bros, a family-run business who have been moving Ambassadors and diplomats around the globe for over 35 years. We also thank Glasgow Caledonian University – their new master’s programmes in diplomacy at their London campus promise to educate decision-makers from the top down. We shall soon be announcing details of the Diplomat magazine scholarship with Glasgow Caledonian University: a Master’s on ‘International Diplomacy & the Digital State.’ Watch this space.
As always, Diplomat reviews the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting the Ambassadors of Costa Rica, Ethiopia, North Macedonia and Tajikistan, along with the High Commissioner for Sierra Leone.
In the lifestyle pages, Diplomat discovers experiential travel company Explora has pioneered a new planet-friendly, headclearing way of interacting with the natural world in their seven remote South American locations. Venetia van Kuffeler enjoys life as a VIP at the Residences of the Four Seasons hotel London at Ten Trinity Square and Michelin-starred dining at the hotel’s restaurant La Dame de Pic.
Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice for the months ahead, including information on British artist David Williams-Ellis who has been commissioned to create a sculpture for the British Normandy Memorial to appear overlooking ‘Gold Beach’ (Ver-sur-Mer, France), and the engaging and informative exhibition ‘FOOD: Bigger than the Plate’ at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
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 email@example.com
VENETIA DE BLOCQ VAN KUFFELER