• Meeting Maldives

    Meeting Maldives0

    Skip to content Caron Röhsler
    British High Commissioner to Maldives
    Part of UK in Maldives
    30th May 2020 Maldives
    Meeting Maldives Before I came to Maldives, my non-resident predecessor told me that being the first resident UK Ambassador* to Maldives would provide a great opportunity to get out to islands that diplomats hadn’t reached in many a year. In my previous posting, in Seychelles, I’d been limited to a small number of affordable islands. So I made it my plan — once I had set up the new office and recruited a team — to get to as many of the 1,200 Maldivian islands as possible. Then C-19 darkened our doors.
    It’s not easy getting to know a country when you’re confined to a flat on an island you can run around in under an hour. But, as John Donne wrote in 1624, “no man is an island entire of itself”. The spiritual connections he wrote about back then have since been augmented with technological ones.
    Working from home in MaldivesSo, the other week, I found myself on a virtual odys..

  • How “The adjoining house at the Lustig Prean Gasse” became the British Embassy

    How “The adjoining house at the Lustig Prean Gasse” became the British Embassy0

    Skip to content Leigh Turner
    Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna
    Part of UK in Austria
    27th May 2020 Vienna, Austria
    How “The adjoining house at the Lustig Prean Gasse” became the British Embassy “The Ministry of Works may have ideas about office accommodation. I doubt whether it would be possible to extend the existing offices by building in the courtyard. Failing this, it might be possible to secure the adjoining house in the Lustig Prean Gasse (No.10), which is now divided into flats and which would be sufficiently large to accommodate all the services and the Consulate.”
    We have recently published two blogs about our estate in Vienna. One considers how repeated changes in the name of the street on which the British Embassy is located, the Jaurésgasse, reflect Austria’s 20th Century history. A second explores how the historic 1875 residence was recovered from the National Socialist Flying Corps,..

  • A Flood of (un)Kindness #KindnessMatters

    A Flood of (un)Kindness #KindnessMatters0

    Skip to content Dr Keith Franklin
    Nuclear Councellor, British Embassy Tokyo
    21st May 2020 Japan
    A Flood of (un)Kindness #KindnessMattersIt was the summer of 2007, and Gloucestershire had just experienced the worst floods in living memory.
    In an ironic twist, the major impact on the area was a water shortage. The floods had overwhelmed the pumping station at the reservoir in Tewkesbury, and the water supply to hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding towns had been cut off. It wasn’t restored for a full three weeks. The local authorities did an amazing job, supplying bottled water for drinking, and household water supplies were provided through ‘bowsers’, large plastic tanks, which looked a little like mini petrol tankers, parked in various places throughout the town.
    My area was serviced by a large orange bowser. You can actually see it here on YouTube. I recorded it being filled on my “flip phone” in the early days of phones being able to record video, it is appalling quali..

  • Local traditions during the holy month of Ramadan

    Local traditions during the holy month of Ramadan0

    Skip to content Arijeta Hadzi-Hamza Ismaili
    Executive Assistant to Her Majesty's Ambassador and Deputy Head of Mission
    Guest blogger for UK in North Macedonia
    Part of UK in North Macedonia
    20th May 2020 Skopje, North Macedonia
    Local traditions during the holy month of Ramadan The holy month of Ramadan is about to end and I would like to send my very best wishes to all who are Muslims, who like me observed this special time of the year. Keeping yourself and loved ones well during Ramadan this year will mean adapting usual religious and cultural practices. Traditionally Ramadan is a time for communal prayer, spiritual reflection, meals with extended family and friends to break daily fasts.
    However, this Ramadan is very different due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mosques remain closed to help stop the spread of the virus through social distancing, and of course, we must refrain from visiting friends and family. The fact is that the whole of the country is making huge efforts and sacr..

  • Inclusion in uncertain times – IDAHOBIT

    Inclusion in uncertain times – IDAHOBIT0

    Skip to content Dominic Otway
    Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Skopje
    Guest blogger for UK in North Macedonia
    Part of UK in North Macedonia
    17th May 2020 Skopje, North Macedonia
    Inclusion in uncertain times – IDAHOBIT Two things struck me when I was asked to write this week’s blog marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May.
    First, it reminded me how much the world has changed since February. I’m thinking of then because it was the last public event I hosted, the day before the first Coronavirus case was reported in North Macedonia. And it was with groups and societies representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people here. We planned to publicise the meeting at the time, but I got distracted by unfolding developments.. and soon it felt that much of what we discussed had been overtaken as events (including how to mark IDAHOBIT) and meetings need to be postponed until we can meet safely again. Today is a good t..

  • A home for all of us

    A home for all of us0

    Skip to content Matt Field
    British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina
    15th May 2020 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
    A home for all of us 17 May is IDAHOBIT, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. While there are many special days to mark throughout the year, this is an important one to me personally.
    Last September, my wife Martina and I took part in the first PRIDE march in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was a happy day for us, and the many others that joined the peaceful walk through the centre of Sarajevo. It belonged to all of those citizens of this country who organised and participated in it, despite a small but sometimes hostile group of opponents during preparations.
    Why was this PRIDE, in the last country in the region to hold one, important? Because it was a message of support to all LGBTI brothers and sisters, that they did not need to hide their identity, that they were valued and welcome members of society. And this matters because so many of the..

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