My Adventures in Diplomacy

Diplomacy and me

I stumbled into the byzantine word of diplomacy totally by accident.

In March 2013, I was approached by a senior member of staff from the Commonwealth Secretariat who knew of my business interests in Georgia, with a request to accept a call from the new foreign minister of a little Pacific country Vanuatu.

Little did I know that this call would open up an entirely new chapter in my life.
The gentleman I took a call from was Edward Natapei, the Foreign Minister of Vanuatu and he wanted my assistance in passing a confidential message to the then President of Georgia, Misha Sakhashvilli.

I had known Sakhashvilli from my days in Georgia in the late 90s and I immediately reached out to him and the upshot was that in May 2013 he met the Vanuatu PM in Bangkok at the Asia Pacific Water Summit.

Both the Heads of States announced the recognition of Georgia by the Republic of Vanuatu.
This simple act of passing messages resulted in Government of Vanuatu gradually seeking my assistance in dealing with various diplomatic issues, with FAO, IFAD, WHO and the Commonwealth.

In 2017 when Ralph Regenvanu, one of the most dynamic of the young politicians in the Pacific became the Foreign Minister of Vanuatu, he requested me to become Vanuatu’s Envoy Extraordinary to the Commonwealth, a position I accepted.

Since then, I have given my time and energy freely to serve Vanuatu as its Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Commonwealth and Permanent Representative to UNWTO.

Oceans and Climate change

I am lucky that I have been able to combine my passion for the Oceans with both my business and my Diplomatic work.

As Vanuatu’s Envoy to the Commonwealth, I worked closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the British Government to achieve Co-Champion status for Vanuatu in the Elimination of plastic waste in the Oceans. This has resulted in substantial funding from the UK to assist Institutional strengthening and capacity building in Vanuatu as well as Technical assistance for substitution of plastic. Vanuatu was one of the first countries to ban single use plastic and substitute it with indigenous materials. Here is a link to a very good article in the Huffington Post about the ban.
As a businessman, I have been fortunate in being able to use a part of my profits to benefit the causes that I am passionate about. Apart from the Oceans, I have worked closely to politically and socially support the Pacific Islands. For the past year I have worked to obtain funding for NGOs in the Pacific tackling the effects of Climate change on the islands that are most susceptible to Climate shock.

Chief among them has been Kiribati, the former President of which, Dr.Anote Tong is a dear and long standing friend. Dr.Tong is one of the world’s leading fighters against Climate change and spends most of his time crisscrossing the world, talking to governments, thinktanks, youth and thought influencers.

You can read about Dr.Tong. And watch a very good interview with him here.
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