SPIL Embassy Hop
In the first two weeks of February, the SPIL went to four different embassies. We have heard the words ‘bilateral’ and ‘unilateral’ more often than when we visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs! All embassies have nevertheless succeeded in bringing across their story and in informing us about their daily work. We started our Embassy Hop at the residence of the Austrian Ambassador. We were welcomed in beautiful room where they had spread out all kinds of delicious Austrian pastries. While we enjoyed our wine with a piece of apfelstrudel, the Ambassador told us all about her work in an informal setting. De next day, another delegation of SPIL’ers went to the Indonesian embassy, where the Ambassador gave us a presentation about the country. He confronted us with the fact that we do not know a lot about Indonesia. Did you know, for example, that Indonesia has more than 17.000 islands? A bit embarrassing that the Ambassador himself has to tell you that. The week after that we went to the Brazilian embassy, where we got a short presentation by the Brazilian Ambassador. After that, an employee answered all of our questions while in the background we heard noises coming from outside, since there was a protest going on to stop deforestation of the Amazon. It was an interesting experience! Last but not least, we visited the Mexican embassy, where the interim Ambassador and two employees told us all about their work. We also had the opportunity to walk around on the gallery of the embassy, where they exhibited local Mexican art. Every embassy has told an incredible story and we have learned a lot from our visits. Some advice if you are reading this and are thinking about joining next year: make sure you have blister plasters on you and read up on how many islands Indonesia consists of!
By Nicola Otten