Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Sir Ivor Roberts Offers Advice to Young People Considering a Diplomatic Career

You have to be unbelievably flexible
these days. The mindset that my generation encountered when we first
joined lasted for a decade or two. That’s now being swept away. People have to be
able to demonstrate flexibility across the board and both in terms of subjects
dealt with, the kind of diplomacy, whether you are negotiating at the end of a
conflict, or helping nation rebuilding. These are concepts which were only dimly
perceived 40 or 50 years ago, so these are important skills to bear in mind: a
kind of new take on diplomacy. Flexibility, but of course the core thing
is are you prepared to get stuck in and really understand a country which means
learning the language, learning its culture, its history, what motivates the
people of that country, and are you prepared to make that sacrifice in terms
of absenting yourself from your own circle of friends for years at a time. My
experience was perhaps unusual and that I spent nearly 20 years on the trot
abroad. So for nearly two decades I never lived among my original circle of
friends but that’s compensated for by the very many
interesting people you meet in your in your time overseas, many of whom will
remain firm friends even if you’ve very often had to negotiate quite robustly
with them.

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