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2020 April

There’s an image doing the rounds on social media stating just a few words: I MISS BREXIT. Of course, this was designed to crack a smile in these times of upheaval and confusion. But these words would have been inconceivable just a few weeks ago. As our long-time Westminster columnist Sir Bernard Jenkin MP reminds us: a week is a long time in politics. However, he says, this expression wasn’t conceived for situations like Covid-19. He refers to a “radically different world” that beckons. No doubt one in which the work of diplomacy will be more important than ever. This situation certainly highlights the moral responsibility that governments bear in every decision they make.

Interestingly, in his article Fellow of the Harvard Centre for International Development R. James Breiding discusses the ‘marshmallow test’: a society’s ability to sacrifice today for the sake of tomorrow. He discusses the strength of smaller countries to be nimble and adapt in the face of adversity. Although it’s likely he wasn’t considering Covid-19 when he wrote his book, this has never been more appropriate.

Also in this issue of Diplomat magazine, James Landale enlightens us on the UK’s Foreign Policy Review, with a further contribution focusing on defence and security from former Strategy Director at the Ministry of Defence, Will Jessett CBE.

Taking office on 1 February 2020, new EU Ambassador João Vale de Almeida says we should work for a more cooperative world order. With a background as the first EU Ambassador in Washington and then in New York as EU Representative to the UN, he has already been making his mark. In time for the annual Commonwealth Day celebrations, the High Commissioner of the Maldives Dr Farah Faizal writes on her country’s return to its rightful home in the Commonwealth.

We are also pleased to have a contribution from a long-time friend and contributor to Diplomat magazine. Recently described as “London’s most unconventional diplomat” by the Financial Times, Dr Vanessa Neumann writes about her unique situation as Juan Guaidó’s Official Representative to the UK and Republic of Ireland. The UK is one of a number of European countries that have recognised Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela.

Our cover story this month is on Pakistan, and we publish a report by Pakistan High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria. The World Bank recently ranked Pakistan among the ‘most improved economies’ in ‘Ease of Doing Business,’ elevating its position by 28 places from the year before. As global economic gravity shifts to the Pakistan region, he says immense opportunities emerge for investors and business entrepreneurs. We also highlight Pakistan’s IT Industry, which has registered exponential growth of late.

Furthermore, Forbes ranked Pakistan as one of the ten ‘coolest places to go in 2019.’ With some of the most diverse natural beauty on the planet, and myriad attractions for adventurers, religious pilgrims, sightseers and polo fans, Pakistan has something for everyone, as evidenced in its growing tourism industry.

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 Russia and El Salvador, along with the High Commissioner for Botswana.

Although travel is on hold for now, it doesn’t stop us planning for the future. Diplomat’s lifestyle pages recall a trip to St Vincent and the Grenadines and a review of the delightful Sofitel London St James.

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

Please stay safe in the meantime.

Venetia de Blocq van Kuffeler






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