YDL’s outgoing Chair Amaris Leal discusses connecting diplomats, establishing friendships and creating networking opportunities

A dynamic and diverse network, Young Diplomats in London (YDL) warmly invites colleagues newly arrived in London to join us and socialise with our members in the harmonious space we have created. Our aim is to promote interaction, lasting friendships and provide a constructive platform for our members to interact on matters of common interest, as a means of fostering relations with the host country. YDL organises events with our partners throughout the year, and members are encouraged
to attend; an ideal opportunity for expanding connections.

YDL is constantly evolving! While in the past the organisation has concentrated on junior-level diplomats, it has experienced a shift with greater participation and engagement from mid-level diplomats, some of whom form part of YDL’s Executive Committee (ExCo).

Adapting to the ever-changing environment around us, YDL has revamped its social media outreach to create greater awareness of the organisation and have direct communication with our members, allowing them to share their views and learn about upcoming YDL events, sponsors and campaigns.

As part of a vision to cement the bonds between the ExCo and the wider membership, we completed the first ever YDL Membership Survey earlier this year, from which more information was gathered regarding the composition, views and expectations of the organisation. Networking opportunities, establishing friendships and professional development were identified as the most valuable benefits of YDL, and members called for more informal evening events in the future. To wrap up this purposeful exercise, a special token was awarded to one lucky winner, made possible by our valued sponsor, St James’ Court, London – A Taj Hotel.

YDL members banished their January blues with a ‘Gin and Bear It – Let the fun be-GIN!’ evening, also hosted by Taj. Gin was courtesy of our supportive partner, International Diplomatic Supplies, who also launched Empress Ale.

In February, YDL took part in a special evening with Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Known as the world’s greatest living explorer, this exclusive networking event was hosted by Jaguar Land Rover at The Royal Geographical Society, during which Sir Ranulph’s achievements were celebrated, alongside the launch of the new Land Rover Defender.

YDL’s ExCo have also engaged in a series of courtesy visits this year. As such, the ExCo was honoured to meet with Her Majesty’s Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, Mr Alistair Harrison, CMG, CVO, at St James’s Palace. The Marshal shared some of his most informative experiences with YDL, and engaged in a meaningful dialogue on ways through which the association’s work may be amplified. YDL thanked the Marshal for his continued support and patronage.

Likewise, the ExCo also had the privilege to pay a courtesy visit on the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, His Excellency Mr Khaled Al-Duwaisan. At the meeting, the Ambassador provided members with sincere advice for their tenure in London. YDL thanked the Dean for offering his unwavering support to the association and constant encouragement.

ExCo members were also pleased to meet with the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr Kitack Lim, at the IMO Headquarters. The Secretary-General was briefed about YDL’s plans and vision. YDL expressed an interest in strengthening the partnership with the IMO.

YDL was delighted to visit Commonwealth Secretary General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, at Marlborough House. Baroness Scotland thanked diplomats for their commitment to diplomacy and multilateralism, encouraging them to work together in partnership to promote solidarity and cooperation. Subsequently during lockdown, YDL members have been able to participate in virtual meetings, training and seminars.

As part of YDL’s plans to amplify its visibility and to collaborate with other London-based clubs and organisations, we were happy to accept an invitation from the Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association (MTYBA) to their Christmas Party in December; a great evening with friends, food, drinks, a magician and even a chocolate fountain.

YDL has also successfully established a new partnership with One Young World (OYW). Members of both organisations have had the opportunity to attend each other’s events. YDL became a Nominating Supporter of OYW’s Flagship Summit that is scheduled for Spring 2021 in Munich, Germany; an opportunity for YDL members to participate in four transformative days of workshops, panels and networking.

The ExCo has also been committed to exploring creative ways to engage with YDL’s sponsors. While the organisation continues to provide coverage and information about our events on the website, YDL has amplified the visibility of its sponsors’ through customised posts on social media platforms and newsletters.

Moving towards the future and considering the new norm, YDL continues to build its partnerships with diplomatic and professional organisations as a means of encouraging diversity and inclusion amongst colleagues and stakeholders in London.

YDL’s membership remains free of charge and is administered on an entirely voluntary basis, with a view of making a diplomat’s experience in the UK an unforgettable one.

Last but not least, it is important to highlight YDL’s appreciation of our valued sponsors who, through their contribution, bring about these incredible opportunities and experiences for YDL members: The Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, International Diplomatic Supplies, St James’ Court – A Taj Hotel, and Jaguar Land Rover.

For more information about YDL or to sign up to become a member, please visit our page at https://ydlondon.co.uk and follow us on social media:

Twitter: @london_yd

Instagram: @youngdiplomatsinlondon

Facebook: @ydlondon


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