The third instalment of the popular “Women in Diplomacy” roundtable series took place on 18th October 2018 at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT). The event featured three distinguished guests: dr. Gabriella Kereszty, Chief Foreign Policy Advisor of the Presidential Office, Eszter Sándorfi, Head of the North America Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as Mrs. Zanathy dr. Györgyi Martin, Head of the Internal Supervision Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The discussion was led by IFAT’s senior analyst Ms Diána Szőke.
During the discussion – held in front of an audience of over 120 people – the senior diplomats recalled their orientation towards the field of diplomacy, their motivations and biggest challenges throughout their carriers. Apart from anecdotes and the highlights of their professional lives, they also shared their thoughts on the importance of a well-maintained balance between family, raising children and being a full-time diplomat.
The conversation naturally turned to their experiences as women in the field of diplomacy, which was for long considered to be a male-dominated profession. According to their view, women aspiring to be successful career-diplomats must possess certain skills, such as being able to focus on the task at hand, cooperating well with others and adapting to different cultural circumstances. Empathy and understanding are key to communication and therefore a good international relationship, as well as being prepared and willing to fulfil the duties the Hungarian Government assigned to them. Regardless of gender, a diplomat must be able to read the situation well and present this to his/her superiors – and should not forget the importance of lifelong learning as well.
The three senior diplomats concluded the event with some advice to those who are interested in diplomacy. They suggested that one should be open to the world, obedient and humble, be aware of ongoing global happenings, and also have the necessary self-confidence in order to be successful.