The Role of Women in Diplomacy: A discussion on the impact of Women in the Complex Global Landscape

A photo of Women in Diplomacy sharing their experiences during the Conference

 On Tuesday,February 20,2024,University of Nairobi in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs and United Nations Office held a conference themed 'the Role of Women in Diplomacy, a discussion on the impact of Women in the complex global landscape ' at the University’s Chandaria Auditorium.

The day saw a display of the contribution of women in SDGs through a photo exhibition entitled ‘17 faces of action Kenya’ in celebration of Ms. Tatiana Valovaya , Director General United Nations (UN) Geneva , the first female to hold this position.  The exhibition was curated by Ms. Victoria Desyat from Jade Communication, it focused on the 17 Social Development Goals SDGs, 17 counties and 17 women.

Deputy Director General for Foreign, Political and Diplomatic Affairs, Amb. Lucy N. Kiruthu from the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs noted that, over the years, diplomacy has been viewed as a feminine role because of their attributes such as soft skills, leveraging on these skills is essential in fostering peace and bringing change. women are the negotiators of change in diplomacy.

Ms Tatiana Valovaya, the Director-General, UN Office, Geneva, noted that she is the 13th Director General and the first woman in that position, she noted that, women play a key role in building peace, women have changed the face of diplomacy, through their strength and determination. She explained that more and more women are taking up roles as diplomats and the helm of leadership at the United Nations.

Ms Zainab Bangura, Director-General, UN Office-Kenya, spoke passionately about the unity that as women in those leadership positions need. She gave an example of how they unite and speak in one language in terms of decisions.

The conference was a  call to women in diplomacy and elsewhere to step into their power and get involved in all social-economic development policies and in particular the 17 SDGs because a huge vacuum exists and continues to grow. Ms. Tatiana, Director General UN Geneva used the treaty of the Cambrai 1592 (Ladies’ Peace) to exemplify women’s negotiation abilities, where peace was brokered by two women on behalf of the king of France and the Spanish emperor. A point that was eloquently reiterated by UN – Women Country Representative, Ms. Anna Mutavati, ‘We are aware of the unprecedented turmoil our world faces. Women need to be in the decision making spaces. Women are both grounded and future oriented. With women in leadership we would have no wars, no Gender based violence, no loss of children.

Thematic Panel discussions characterized the afternoon; Climate Action and Women, Peace and Security and the role of women, Women and Governance; perspectives from Multilateral settings, Career Development and Leadership for Women in Diplomacy, The Role of a Woman Diplomat in Science, Technology and Innovation, 30 years of women empowerment in Romanian Diplomacy

‘80% of diplomats in Kenya have interacted with UoN’. Making the institution an ally to women in diplomacy and by extension women participation. The panelist offered invaluable insights, experiences, encouragement and platforms such as Foreign Service Agency to their audience and earnest desire to see all of them at the top, ‘noted the Chairman, Department of Diplomacy and International Studies, Dr. Patrick Maluki.