Sweet because I thought I was late for class only to pace down the stairs and find the previous class had not ended. I bet you know that daunting feeling when you enter class late and every eye is staring at you and you wish you had the power to walk in invisibly. Our course administrator had alerted the facilitator of the ongoing class that we were waiting outside. I wondered what lesson it was; its past 5:30 PM and even the students seem to be in no hurry. In the meantime, a check into how our Master of Arts in Diplomacy, Intelligence and Security classes has been so far kept a few of us engaged while we waited. Eventually, echoes of the class mumbling could be heard as they walked out and as we settled in. Just like the previous class, the engagements of our lesson were so captivating that only a follow up by another lecturer could bring to a close the questions the students had. Why? We were privileged to have a guest speaker from The Ministry of Foreign & Diaspora Affairs (MFDA).
Did you know…
That Kenya has 66 diplomatic missions abroad, 2 in Nairobi, 31 honorary consuls and a host to 109 foreign resident missions. While we may not have a physical diplomatic presence in all countries of the world, the ministry strives to ensure that the ones we have promote our national interests while seeking other ways that can help Kenya have a global presence. It is important to note that in some areas we have a multiple accreditation ambassador – they serve a few countries, for example in Latin America – The Brazil Embassy also serves Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The newest missions include Djibouti, Bern, Arusha, Goma, Jakarta and Hargeisa (Somaliland) and Argentina.
What are some of the functions of the MFDA?
- Management of Kenya’s Foreign Policy
- Projection, Promotion and Protection of Kenya’s Interest and Image globally.
- Management of Kenya’s Missions and Embassies Abroad.
- Ratification/Accession to, Depository and Custodian of all International Treaties, Agreements and Conventions where Kenya is a Party.
- Liaison with Foreign Missions in Kenya and administration of Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities.
- Management of Bilateral and Multi-Lateral Relations while promoting Nairobi as a Hub for Multilateral Diplomacy.
- Lobbying for Kenyan Candidature in the International Governance System.
- Champion of Kenya’s Diaspora Issues.
- Official Communications on Global Foreign Relations.
In closing, for those that desire to be in diplomacy, remember your role requires that you understand the interests of the county so you are able to articulate and protect them. In addition, great negotiation skills, awareness in the world’s current affairs of the world help in creating friendly relationship while promoting the image of the country with the nations as you seek to contribute towards a just, peaceful and equitable world. Being seasoned in such matters is of value, so aspire to never stop learning while reading widely and be intentional on engagements that gear at building the nation.
Does this sound like an area that interests you? Then begin rehearsing your duties as the next “Ambassador plenipotentiary”.
To learn more about this noble undertaking visit the MFDA website.
This article was written by Annete Karanja.
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