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GIC Talk 04/17
Name
GIC
Date
2021-04-22
Views
1142

"Multilateral Diplomacy and the New Challenges of the World" 


Writer: Jana Milosavljević

 

 


 

 

 

After an almost four months long break caused by COVID-19 related safety regulations, GIC Talk finally restarted last Saturday, April 17th, and on this joyous occasion GIC had the honor to have Mr. Yoon Yeocheol, Ambassador for International Relations at Gwangju Metropolitan City as a guest speaker. The Ambassador’s Talk titled “Multilateral Diplomacy and the New Challenges of the World” was held online, through Zoom Meetings.

 

 

Mr. Shin Gyonggu, the Executive Director of GIC started the meeting and greeted the participants and the Ambassador himself. Following the greeting, Ambassador Yoon began his lecture with a brief introduction of his 37-years-long career with the Korean foreign ministry. The highlights of his career include being the Protocol Secretary to the President of Korea from February 2016 to May 2017, acting as an Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Arab Republic of Egypt from February 2018 until June 2020, as well as his current position as the Ambassador for International Relations at Gwangju Metropolitan City. Even though he jokingly referred to himself as “Jack of all trades, but master of none” as the famous saying goes, throughout the Talk every participant could unmistakably see that Mr. Yoon’s experience is extensive and invaluable, and that he is definitely “the master of the trade”.

 

Mr. Yoon then continued to explain the definition of diplomacy as “the execution of one state’s foreign policy to manage that state’s relations with other states”. He illustrated the role of a diplomat, followed by clarifying the term ‘bilateral diplomacy’, and then analyzing the ‘multilateral diplomacy’ itself through its two definitions, especially focusing on the multilateral diplomacy in the modern sense. The 45-minute lecture was a walk through history of the world, intertwined with the history of diplomacy, its evolution and changes. Mr. Yoon managed to explain the crucial historical points that molded diplomacy into the praxis it is today, while perfectly balancing the tone of the lecture between serious political talk and a presentation even those without a background in politics can easily follow, demonstrating all the qualities a diplomat should possess.

 

The last part of the Talk was reserved for the Q&A, and the Ambassador’s communication with the audience. Mr. Shin himself was the first one to pose a very simple, but crucial question “Why did you choose to be a diplomat?”. Mr. Yoon replied that it was a childhood dream and added that the sense of fulfillment and the experiences he has obtained he finds most valuable. Other questions included “How do you define being a successful diplomat?” and “Could you share a fun episode from your years of service?”, as well as a more serious question asking for Ambassador Yoon’s opinion on the UN’s role in the recent Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, and questions about some practical advice on how to contribute to strengthening the relations between one’s own country and Korea.

 

The Talk was concluded with Mr. Yoon’s promise that he would come back to discuss more related topics if he got the chance. His final message to the participants of the Talk was to always try to be the bridge connecting countries, people, and cultures in as many ways as possible, and continue to help in bringing mutual understanding as they already are through organizing and participating in events such as the GIC Talk.