All about tact and diplomacy


A career in diplomacy may not guarantee material wealth, but it can guarantee a rich life.

Human Development and Peace Foundation president Ambassador Datuk Dr G.K. Ananda Kumaraseri said being a diplomat is an occupation that is always alive.

“Even when you sleep, the other half of the world is making mischief,” he said in his talk titled An Ambassador’s Insight Into Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

Ananda said that diplomats do not have a set routine in their work, and they are frequently met with different challenges.

“There will always be all sorts of challenges, but these are opportunities to develop your skills.”

He said that in order to be a diplomat, one has to be able to think clearly and be objective, but more importantly they must have a genuine interest in meeting people.

“You must also have good communication skills. For that, the English language is essential as your tongue is your tool to diplomacy,” he said.

Asked by a member of the audience what the level of English proficiency is for diplomats in Malaysia on a scale of one to 10, Ananda said, “Below five.”

He said that while there are some who are excellent in their language, those standards should be applied all across the board.

He added, “This may be a very old profession, but it is a noble profession. However, there are many things that diplomats contribute which are intangible and because of that, there is little investment in this area.”

Ananda gave his talk after a book presentation ceremony by the English Speaking Union (ESU) Malaysia to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in conjunction with ESU’s ninth Annual General Meeting.

ESU Malaysia chairman Tunku Dara Tunku Tan Sri Naquiah Tuanku Ja’afar said that ESU had selected UiTM as recipients of the books because of the high standard of reading at the institution. “After visiting UiTM, we felt that they have a good library, and they really encourage reading at the institution.

The university also has a good section for international books, so we hope they will make full use of these books,” she said.

UiTM Education Faculty dean Assoc Prof Dr Izaham Shah Ismail said, “We are very thankful that ESU has chosen to give the books to us, as many of our students are from rural areas and do not have much access to good literary titles like these.”

He added that the institution strives to produce future teachers who not only educate, but mould and drive the future generation in areas beyond academics.

“Our faculty is grateful the ESU has graciously bestowed the first instalment of their yearly Gift of Knowledge to us,” he said.