OUR historian colleague, Yaqoob Yusuf Al-Ibrahim, wrote an article or an analytic research on the function of modern diplomacy, which was published on Aug 3, 2013 in Al-Qabas daily. Al-Ibrahim said he reached a conviction in one of his articles published long time ago that the work of a diplomat is limited to public relations and commercial marketing.
His words were affirmed in an article published after a few years in one of the English newspapers, in which former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice alerted the American diplomats by telling them: “Leave your offices and market the products of your country.” She also said that, “A third of diplomats outside the US from a group of 6,000 delegates will be redistributed in countries in Africa and the Middle East, and those who don’t know foreign languages — Arabic, Urdu and Chinese — might lose their posts.”
Our colleague, Al-Ibrahim, gave an example of the successful diplomacy in the personality of the current French Ambassador to Kuwait, Mrs Nada Al-Yafi; although it is sad that she will soon leave the country after three years in diplomatic service.
Ambassador Al-Yafi speaks three languages fluently — Arabic, her native language, French and English. She worked for four presidents of the Republic of France as an accredited translator, and she puts a scarf on her head in respect of the Arab and Islamic traditions. Ambassador Al-Yafi, as described by Al-Ibrahim, is a marketer par excellence; in addition to her knowledge of languages. Ambassador Al-Yafi said in one of her TV interviews, “The products of France are not limited to make-up and perfume. We manufacture various products, from needles to Airbus”. Mrs Al-Yafi is a ‘flame’ we see in diwaniyas and every social occasion organized by the people of Kuwait — from weddings to wakes.
We want to see a new generation of ambassadors in this era of globalization; a buoyant generation that speaks languages in a bid to market the reputation of their country. We call upon our Honorable Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled and Honorable Undersecretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry Khaled Al-Jarrallah, both of whom are veteran diplomats, to choose the best ambassadors for our country with the ability to speak languages and are experts in public relations and in marketing for the good of our beloved country.