THIS YEAR HAS RACED BY, and here we are with the final issue of Diplomat magazine in 2019. At the time of writing, we still have no firm resolution on Brexit. Will we have some answers by the next edition in February 2020, I ask? Although HM former Ambassador Charles Crawford does cover the dreaded topic of Brexit, (he admits he’s a Brexiteer!) some of the dialogue has moved on. Even Sir Bernard Jenkin MP has turned his attention to climate change, specifically Extinction Rebellion, in his regular column on Westminster.
On the serious topic of climate change, I was interested to observe that Finland have the world’s only ‘Green’ foreign minister, who attended an excellent event organised by the Embassy back in September tackling this issue. Finland’s Ambassador writes for us on his country’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2035 – coal will be banned in energy use by 2029 – along with their green initiatives during their current Presidency of the Council of the EU. He reveals that they practice what they preach at the Embassy in London, where no meat is served at their Presidency events.
In a nod to an excellent programme broadcast on Radio 4, the BBC’s James Landale covers leaks, tweets and modern diplomacy in our cover story. Following Sir Kim Darroch’s resignation as UK Ambassador to the US, which rocked the establishment, and the ensuing row over the leaked emails critical of President Trump’s administration, he explores what diplomats have to do to adapt and keep up in this changing landscape. He notes, “Technology is changing the rules of diplomacy.”
In our household, weekend events over the past month have been planned around various sporting events on the television. Japan may not have lifted the 2019 Rugby World Cup trophy, but APCO Worldwide Executive Director Simon McGee says that as tournament host they have won hearts and minds across the globe. He considers the lessons and challenges for governments eager to play the volatile game of sports diplomacy.
The Times’ Michael Binyon recently returned from India, where he was the only journalist accompanying the Archbishop of Canterbury on his lengthy tour of the country. Dramatic photographs of the Archbishop prostrating himself in front of the memorial to the victims of the 1919 Amritsar massacre made the headlines, but also provoked some sharp criticism here in Britain. He asks if statesmen can change perceptions of their country by bowing, kneeling, apologising or laying wreaths on national monuments and memorials.
We are also thrilled to have contributions from various Heads of Mission, including the Ambassadors of Afghanistan and the Czech Republic, along with High Commissioners for Kenya and Sri Lanka. Diplomat also continues to review the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting the Ambassadors of Ecuador, Kyrgyz Republic and the Maldives, along with the High Commissioner for Lesotho. The latter was elected as her country’s youngest ever member of parliament age 26.
After all this hard work, it would be remiss of Diplomat to neglect the festive season, so in the lifestyle pages, we have some delightful travel ideas for a festive mini break, plus gift ideas for those loved ones and colleagues who seem to have everything. Diplomat enjoys a stay in the beautiful new residences at COMO Metropolitan London, whilst indulging in food cooked on a live-fire grill at their restaurant Gridiron by COMO.
Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice for the months ahead, including information on two art fairs in December on either end of town, plus two major new exhibitions: Bridget Riley at The Hayward, and Gauguin at The National Gallery.
Do look out for Diplomat magazine’s 2020 Yearbook. Arriving on your desk in the first week of January, this is the diplomatic ‘bible’ containing a comprehensive guide to the diplomatic community in London: principal contacts at the embassies and high commissions; national day dates; diplomatic associations and groups; plus an ‘A to Z’ of trusted service providers available to diplomats based in London, including hotels and venues, serviced apartments, tax-free cars and much more.
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