What an amazing evening! Over 40 IPWS members and friends met to mix, mingle and learn about the exciting lives of diplomats. We were thrilled to welcome many new faces to this event.
Our distinguished guests were Ana Candida Perez, Consul-General of Brazil; Therese Healy, Consul-General | Consulate General of Ireland; Guergana Guermanoff, New Zealand Consul-General; and Eu-Niz Chan, Consul for Economic Policy, Australian Consulate General. Moderating the discussion was Lee Kane, Consul for Political, Economic and Public Affairs with the Consulate General of Canada.
The a panel discussion featured lively discussion about how our guests became diplomats, the challenges they faced and lessons learned about the role of women in international diplomacy along the way. Their diverse backgrounds and professional experience provided many interesting perspectives: Ms. Perez talked about her time in Nigeria as one of her career highlights, while Ms. Healy talked about working with the Ireland’s foreign ministry while it was still embracing traditional male/female roles. The youngest participant, Ms. Chan, discussed completing her first tours and the lessons she has learned as someone so new in the field. And Ms. Guermanoff talked about being a leader in enforcing diversity, in a time when New Zealand is still changing its policies to reflect equitable pay and hiring practices.
As the only male participant, Mr. Kane (and the Canadian government) was singled out as a leader in promoting gender diversity by participating in discussions around equality. It was agreed that, if we have to have conversations about diversity (one day hopefully we won’t have to!), men should always be included in the discussion.
When it was time for questions, the audience did not hold back – in fact, question period ran longer than expected! Questions varied, from “would you recommend this career to women?” (The answer was a resounding “yes! But know what you’re getting into.”) to “what is it like to work with Chinese diplomats, when the Politburo is overwhelmingly-male?”
The Chinese context was particularly interesting to the audience. Although the panel admitted that China faces some challenges when it comes to embracing gender equality, they agreed that their Chinese female colleagues are exceptionally capable and will make a huge contribution to China and the world.
The panel was followed with a lively networking session, where the panelists mingled with as many of the audience as they could, before heading home to prepare for another exciting day of life on the international stage.
Miss out? Don’t worry! We’ve took 5 Minutes With each speaker to ask them some questions about their career. Read on, and check back soon for more in the 5 Minutes With… series.