Written by: Clariz Mendoza
Photos by: Nicole Teng
Do you dream of representing the country in international affairs? Do you have a burning love for the Philippines? Do you want to enter the world of diplomacy? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may be fit to become a Filipino diplomat!
Being a diplomat is no joke. You may be the thin, fragile, dividing line between war and peace. In order to be properly prepared for this huge responsibility, veterans and newbies in this field shared their stories and advice to aspiring diplomats.
Learn with Diplomats (L+D) Festival 2019 was a fun-filled afternoon where participants got the chance to listen to the stories of diplomats regarding their journeys in their jobs as well as have real conversations with them. The symposium was divided into 5 themes: live, love, learn, lead, and legacy.
At the Learn with Diplomats (L+D) Festival 2019
Here are some takeaways that I got from the event that I believe would help you on the road to becoming an effective Filipino diplomat.
5. Love and serve your country
This one is pretty basic. In order to be a good diplomat, you have to put the welfare of the Philippines first at all times. Aspire to create agreements that would bring jobs and opportunities to your fellow countrymen. Be the representative of the Filipinos by showing the best attributes of the country.
4. Take challenges as opportunities for character building
Even before entering the foreign service, you will inevitably face multiple challenges along the way. The Foreign Service Officer exam, which is known to be the hardest exam the government gives, is just the beginning of the challenges you will face in your career. It is also inevitable that at times you may fail. This, however, will not define you, but how you handle your situations will.
In the international scene, a lot of challenges will be thrown at you. The way you solve the problems and how you compose yourself throughout the crises will define your readiness in becoming a diplomat.
3. Read, read, read
All the speakers shared the importance of love for reading. Cathe Sarmiento, a junior diplomat, shared how reading helped her pass the FSO exam. Before taking up the test, she would read all the spreadsheet newspapers and would summarize them for her previous job. This helped her understand current events that aided her in the FSO exam. In the job, reading is crucial since you will read piles and piles of reports every day!
2. Diplomacy is about forming bonds
Living the diplomatic life is not always how it is portrayed. It’s not about going to parties with champagne in your hand. And although socializing is a part of it, there is much more to it. You have to form bonds with your coworkers. You should have the same goals for the promotion of the country. Likewise, it is important to connect with your counterpart diplomats in other countries. This will enable you to raise awareness for better opportunities not just for your country but in different countries as well.
And lastly, it is important to connect with kababayans in the country you’re assigned to. They can be of great help in helping you know more about the country of your assignment.
Being a diplomat will require you to travel a lot. You will be exposed to different types of cultures and people. The most important thing to remember is showing respect. Their culture may be so different from yours, but it does not mean that they are wrong and you are right or vice versa. Acceptance and not judging other cultures is valuable in being a diplomat.
Learn with Diplomats (L+D) Festival 2019 was organized by the Foreign Service Institute Employees’ Association.
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to be a diplomat? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Foreign Service Institute Employees’ Association
Contact: (02) 834 3744