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Women in diplomacy

On 5 December 2017 the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted the round-table discussion entitled “Women in diplomacy” for the second time, following the first event of the series in March 2017.

The opening remarks of the event were delivered by Márton Schőberl, director of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The event brought together H.E. Marie-France André, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Ulyana Bogdanska, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria and H.E. Karima Kabbaj, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco. The three Ambassadors shared their personal experience with the audience during this pleasant and easy conversation, moderated by Diána Szőke, senior analyst of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

All three Ambassadors were of the opinion that they have experienced a woman-friendly attitude in the diplomatic circles in Hungary, and although they have not much time left for socialising after carrying out their daily duties and tasks, they find pleasure in meeting local people and visiting the sights of Budapest and other Hungarian towns.

They told the audience that their career paths were influenced by several factors, emphasising that their families, and above all the interests of their children have always come before their careers. They all worked for their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs for a longer period prior to taking postings abroad.

They emphasised that the greatest challenge for them as women was getting the position, however, they also implied that their cooperation with male colleagues during their everyday work is harmonic without any significant rivalry.

Answering the question about the personal characteristics necessary to fulfil their duties, they unanimously stated that one must be strong, conscious, independent but at the same time very flexible and ready to make difficult decisions. Ambassador Kabbaj added that a(n) (female) ambassador must be able to find time for herself so that she could do her best in all her tasks.  They all agreed that everyone needs to deal with such requirements in their own ways, suitable to their own character and personality and there are no universal strategies and techniques at hand. Ambassador André furthermore emphasised that the support and cooperation of the partner or husband is essential to fulfil a role of such significance.

Finally, while answering questions from the audience, they said they consider the representation of their countries and cultures their most important task and they are proud to be able to contribute to the good reputation of their sending countries and the formation of their international relations.