Monday, July 26, 2021

Women’s Ambassadors Group Summary

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The Women’s Ambassadors Group is an informal group of women Ambassadors accredited to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, (based in the Netherlands) but also includes women ambassador accredited to the Kingdom of the Netherlands based in Brussels.

This network aims to facilitate communication and create a support web for all Women Ambassadors to the Netherlands. Through periodic meetings and discussions, the group aims to gain an insight into Dutch politics and more broadly female leadership and gender equality political and private sector.

H.E. Ms Adia Sakiqi, Coordinator of the Women’s Ambassadors Group, Ambassador of Albania.

This group is chaired by rotation according the UN regional group division. Ambassador of Albania, H.E. Ms. Adia Sakiqi took over the chairmanship on 1 October 2020 from Ambassador of Yemen H.E. Ms Sahar Ghanem, in her previous capacity as Chair of Women Ambassadors to the Netherlands.

Under the presidency of Albania (October 2020- September 2021) there have been a variety of innovative and refreshing meetings and online events. Although, the period of the presidency has overlapped with the global pandemic, the presidency has not been marred by a lack of communication and exchange. Instead, the variety of guest speakers and subsequent discussions have led to an inspiring, informative and enjoyable atmosphere.

Guest Speakers:

7 December 2020 – Mr. Peter Omtzigt – Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands. It was an open and frank discussion on the role of the MP and the Dutch parliament in decision-making processes in the Netherlands. Very informative exchange on topics related to the upcoming election, and the future government formation. Women ambassadors were very grateful to Mr. Omtzigt for finding the time for such an interesting session.

Mr. Paul Huijts – Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

14 January 2021 – Mr. Paul Huijts – Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  “Diplomacy During Covid-19” as well as gender equality within a multi-lateral setting. Women ambassadors exchanged best practices how the pandemic management is addressed in different parts of the world. WA thanked the Secretary general for the hospitality which the host country provides for diplomatic corps. 

H.E. Ms. Rawan Sulaiman, Head of the Palestinian Mission in The Netherlands.

24 February 2021 – Mr Rob de Wijk Director for the Hague Center for Strategic Studies. The Director of HCSS is well known for his

5 March 2021: Countess Van Zuylen van Nijevelt – Mistress of the Robes of the Dutch Royal Household provided the Women Ambassadors with a presentation of the objectives and her duties within the Royal Household. Women Ambassadors are very grateful for her friendship and the solid relations that Mistress of the Robes of the Dutch Royal Household built with all ambassadors accredited to the Netherlands.

16 2021: Ms Sabra Bano – Gender Concerns International gave an useful presentation in view of the upcoming Dutch parliamentary elections regarding women participation and gender parity, not only addressing the 17 March parliamentary elections but also discussing GCI activity worldwide.

H.E. Frances Lanitou, Ambassador of Cyprus, H.E. Ms Irene Kasyanyu, Ambassador of Tanzania, H.E. Ms Lisa Helfland, Ambassador of Canada and H.E. Lynsay Walker, Ambassador of New Zealand. The Women’s Ambassadors Group.

19th May: Ms. Caroline Holtgrefe (President of SER Topvrouwen.nl) and Marguerite Soeteman Reijnen (Chairperson of Top Vrouwen.nl, Chairperson of RvB Aon Holdings and Chairperson of RvA) – Discussion were focused on leadership and equality and on the presence of gender diversity in the private sector.  What can we learn for the thriving private sector? Soeteman Reijnen provided Women ambassadors with a very dynamic presentation followed by reading tips from research studies implemented by renown private companies. It was refreshing to confer on the role women play in the private sector and how it can and should be increased in the private sector, but also in the in the public sector.

It is worth mentioning that thanks to the initiative of UK Ambassador H.E. Ms. Joanna Roper and President of Topvrouwen.nl., Ms. Caroline Holtgrefe, on the occasion of Women’s Day on 8 March, Women Ambassadors to NL officially became part of Topvrowen.nl network. We are very glad to be part of such a powerful and empowering grid of highly qualified and professional leaders.

H.E. Dr Hissa Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the UAE.
H.E. MS. Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Ambassador of Uruguay.

It can be said that the previous year has been one marked by stress and apprehension regarding the pandemic. However, within the confines of the group it has been a year of energizing exchange and learning. The year has seen a host of inspiring speakers and well as several farewells to female ambassadors who have left the Netherlands, such as the Ambassadors of Thailand, Brazil, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Romania, and Chile.

New women Ambassadors are: North Macedonia, El Salvador, Peru, Cyprus, Lichtenstein, Monaco (during 2020-2021).

H.E. Ms Päivi Marjaana Kaukoranta, Ambassador of Finland, the Ambassador of Albania and H.E. Ms Aiga Liepina, Ambassador of Latvia.

Upcoming activities:

  • Training on Negotiations offered at Clingendael Diplomatic Academy  for Women Ambassadors to NL. (September 2021)
  • Meeting with Mariette Hamer – President of SER (September 2021)
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