Updated: Nov 18
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Sept. 8, 2022) Seven Latin American diplomats were invited by Georgetown University in Qatar’s (GU-Q) Latin American and Caribbean Society (LACAS) to an event called “A Coffee Chat with the Ambassadors: Reflections on Diplomacy and Foreign Service,” providing an opportunity for Georgetown students to direct their questions about diplomatic affairs and receive answers directly from professionals in the field.
Seat reservation was open to the GU-Q student and faculty and on the day of the event, the registration table was busy with people in a hurry to get the best available seats in the room. In fact, the room was abuzz with both excitement and anticipation for the rare opportunity of meeting with and hearing from such distinguished individuals. The event promptly began at 1 p.m. where it was set in the Faculty Conference room. Interim Dean Clyde Wilcox was present to recognize the efforts that the LACAS put into organizing the event as well as to welcome the honorable guests and thank them for their enthusiasm in taking the time to be a part of such a unique and significant event –especially for students aiming for future careers in diplomacy. LACAS club leaders and Masters of the Ceremony (MCs), Emilia Pacheco De Larrea and Santiago Rubio Henao introduced H.E. Luis Alberto Figueiredo (Brazil), H.E. Mariano Segura Ávila (Costa Rica), H.E. Oscar León Gonzales (Cuba), Consul Jaime Pacheco (Colombia), H.E. Pascual Del Cioppo (Ecuador), H.E. Musa Asvat (Panama), and Consul Juan Martín Benavides (Uruguay) before proceeding to the most awaited part of the event: the coffee chat.
The MCs began with a series of pre-prepared questions for the ambassadors before handing the microphone to other GU-Q students who all expressed their gratitude towards the honorable guests. Answers to questions such as which major can best lead to the diplomatic pathway, the place, and future of women in the diplomatic space, and the role of language in diplomatic conversations all gave the audience an insight into the nuances of international politics. The final question that came from a student was given by Benjamin Kurian, ‘23, Student Government Association (SGA) President. Kurian asked whether the ambassadors would be open to GU-Q students shadowing them so that the former may engage in experiential learning opportunities. Fortunately, all the ambassadors happily gave a unanimous “yes.” The event ended with an enjoyable fast-talk interview session where the ambassadors were given signs that had “Yes” written on one side and “No” on the other. There had been some amusing answers that resulted in laughter erupting in the room.
During the chat, H.E. Gonzales mentioned that “diversity in opinions is beautiful.” Indeed, participating in a platform of open and honest discourse is the best way to learn from the perspectives of other people and as H.E. Figueiredo said, diplomats are the “builders of bridges.” In the end, the event had been successful in serving as a bridge between GU-Q students to hear the perspectives of seasoned ambassadors. LACAS managed to build that bridge between the two parties. GU-Q students will regard “A Coffee Chat with Ambassadors” as a platform that helped pave the way to realizing the uniqueness of the experiences of being a diplomatic professional and the nuances behind the nature and current state of diplomatic affairs. Many of them await more occasions such as this and are greatly appreciative of the efforts of the LACAS in working to materialize one of the most significant events contributing to the GU-Q student experience.