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International Day of Women In Diplomacy 2023 (Women In Diplomacy: A Spectrum of Opportunities Forum)

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IDFR hosted Women in Diplomacy: A Spectrum of Opportunities forum on 23 June 2023 at Hilton Kuala Lumpur. The event was supported by the Embassy of Ireland in Malaysia and the United Nations in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam. It was held in conjunction with the International Day of Women in Diplomacy which was adopted as Resolution 269 of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly last year, to be celebrated on 24th June.

This year’s theme Women in Diplomacy: A Spectrum of Opportunities focused on the opportunities available for women in the field of diplomacy, either as career diplomats, managers, and administrators within the international diplomacy circles, or even peacekeepers, to recognise the important contributions made, to discuss what gaps exist, and how to address it.

The Honourable Dato’ Seri Diraja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia delivered an inspiring introductory statement via video recording. Professor Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Former Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat at the United Nations delivered the keynote address and the panelists for the forum were Lieutenant Colonel Jayne Lawlor, Brigade Adjutant and Senior Staff Officer Personnel Section and Gender Advisor Second Brigade, Irish Defence Forces and Mrs Karima El Korri, UN resident Coordinator in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam. The forum was moderated by Mrs Aznifah Isnariah Abd Ghani, Undersecretary of the Multilateral Economy and Environment Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia.

Professor Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood shared her insights on women’s role in diplomacy by centralising challenges and issues faced particularly on their participation in decision-making process, based on her experiences in her previous and current roles in numerous crucial areas such as humanitarian disasters, health, and conflict management. She also recommended the way forward in enhancing women’s involvement in various areas in diplomacy.

Lieutenant Colonel Jayne Lawlor gave her insights on the positive way on the contribution made by women in international diplomacy, across a variety of areas, including but not limited to traditional diplomacy (relations between states), in multilateral fora, peace-building and conflict prevention, including through UN peacekeeping, in humanitarian work and civil society/grassroots. Mrs Karima El Korri shared the important milestones with regard to recognition of women in diplomacy, discussed contemporary diplomacy issues and international relations issues from a lens of women in diplomatic setting, and highlighted measures at the international level in promoting for a more effective representation and role of women in the area.

The event arranged in a hybrid format was attended by practitioners, foreign policy influencers, and administrators that work in the field of diplomacy. The forum saw active participation from the floor with sharing of information and experiences in their role as women in diplomacy, in decision-making as well as the challenges and possibilities that they encounter at each stage of their careers.

IDFR is confident that the event succeeded in outlining the contributions and achievements of women in diplomacy, as well as change the gender stereotype on women. It is vital to demonstrate to society that women can be at the forefront of leadership and make sound decisions in the various sectors in which they have been involved.


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