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Scholars call for training, mentorship for women diplomats

Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, delivers a keynote speech during the Women In Diplomacy conference held at the University of Nairobi on 20th February 2024.

Scholars have called upon governments and institutions to invest in women diplomats by leveraging on their unique competencies.

This was deliberated Tuesday at the University of Nairobi where a conference on ‘The Role of Women In Diplomacy’ was held, at the institution’s Manu Chandaria Auditorium.

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The conference, which was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, members of diplomatic corps in Nairobi, the United Nations and other international organizations, academia and retired Kenyan ambassadors, sought to examine the impact that women diplomats have had in international relations and diplomacy.

A section of the Diplomacy experts who took part in the conference held at the University of Nairobi on Tuesday.

“The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals emphasize the importance of achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls under goal number five,” noted Tatiana Valovaya, Director General of the United Nations office at Geneva who delivered the keynote address during the conference.

Adding that: “The United Nations has demonstrated its commitment to the attainment of this aspiration by ensuring that there is 50-50 gender representation at the top leadership organs.”

Other speakers at the conference stressed on the need for concerted efforts in mentoring and nurturing women in diplomacy, calling upon governments and institutions to invest in women diplomats by leveraging on their unique competencies.

While noting that women possess a ‘nuanced understanding of various global issues’, the conference cited cultural limitations and stereotypes as an impediment for women in the field of diplomacy.

According to the UN Women Country Representative in Kenya Anna Mutavati, more than 70pc of those affected by conflict globally are women and children.

This therefore underscores the need for training programmes on peace and security for women.

“Diplomacy should be taught from as early as primary school,” said Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Kenya,  Winpeg Moyo. “Men and women should work side by side on these initiatives in order for them to be truly holistic.”

Speakers at the conference also called for the inclusion of science and technology expertise in diplomatic negotiations amidst the challenges posed by climate change.

The conference was held as Kenya prepares to host the 6th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly which will take place from the 26th of February to 1st March in Nairobi.

 

Ms. Zainab Bangoura, Director General of the United Nations office at Nairobi, delivers a speech during the conference held at the University of Nairobi.
Boniface Mwalii
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