Luxembourg’s Foreign Ambassadors reflect on diplomacy and its challenges

Photo: Tania Feller

Photo: Tania Feller / Wort English

Members of the diplomatic corps in Luxembourg and a number of local business representatives reunited at Cercle Munster on Thursday night to share knowledge, recount experiences and network.

Five Ambassadors representing various European countries in the Grand Duchy attended the event and shared with the audience the greatest challenges faced when working in diplomacy.

For its third edition, the 2014 Ambassadors’ Evening welcomed Antoine Thomas, Ambassador of Belgium in Luxembourg, Russian Ambassador Marc Entin and Greek Ambassador Theodoros Georgakelos, as well as Rita da Franco Sousa Ferro Levy Ambassador of Portugal and Spanish Ambassador Arturo Avello del Corral.

Introduced on the night by a member of the Inspiring Wo-men Business Club, each ambassador was then invited to reflect on his or her diplomatic career, looking back on both challenging and rewarding times.

5 ambassadors, 5 countries, 5 different experiences

With various academic backgrounds and distinct professional experiences gained over the years, the five participating Ambassadors looked at diplomacy from distinct perspectives, and managed to inspire, inform, but also entertain the audience with their life stories.

Trying to recall the greatest challenge of her professional career, the Portuguese Ambassador talked about the very moment when she decided to start a diplomatic career, and emphasised the quest for finding balance between her professional and family life. She also mentioned the relocation aspect of the job, which saw her taking office in numerous countries across the globe.

Portugal's Ambassador to Luxembourg

Portugal’s Ambassador to Luxembourg
Photo: Wort English / Tania Feller

Attending the Ambassadors’ Evening for the second time, Ambassador Marc Entin recalled the times when he experienced Russia’s political transition from USSR to the Russian Federation and also mentioned his involvement in the country’s road to joining the Council of Europe in 1996.

‘‘A diplomat must be a patriot, without being nationalist or naïve”

On the night, Belgian Ambassador Thomas Antoine shared with the audience his philosophical views of diplomacy, recalling the Greek etymology of the word diplomat and also explaining the origins of diplomacy.

He concluded that ‘‘a diplomat must be a patriot, without being nationalist or naïve.’’

With a long diplomatic career, the Spanish Ambassador to Luxembourg highlighted the difficult job of Ambassadors operating in politically unstable countries and praised Luxembourg for being ‘‘a very well-organised country.’’

Greek Ambassador on Europe’s problems

Last to speak on the night, Greek Ambassador Theodoros Georgakelos welcomed the female-dominated audience at Cercle Munster and said that Greek diplomacy saw the first women taking office at the beginning of the 1970s and has benefited from their expertise ever since.

Focusing on the role of ambiguity in diplomacy, he argued that in certain circumstances making room for some ‘‘creative ambiguity’’ gives diplomats the chance to see how the other party thinks.

Reflecting on the time he spent in China, the Ambassador outlined that seen from far away, Europe’s problems are indeed very small and that ‘‘being European is an invaluable advantage.’’

New members for Inspiring Wo-men Business Club

Reuniting some 65 participants, the night was also an opportunity for the club’s new members to introduce their organisations. Representatives from “Société Générale Bank & Trust” and Docler Holding as well as Glacier Bargello’s Laura Fontani, and PwC Senior Manager Renata Hoes briefly described their business roles in Luxembourg.

In its third edition, the Ambassadors’ Evening was organised by Inspiring Women Business Club, an invitation-only private club founded in 2009.

For more information, please visit http://www.inspiringwo-men.eu.

An article published under my name on Wort English in January 2014.

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