New Humanity Movement

Ethnicities and Cultures

133 ambasciatore

 

 

Al has served in the diplomatic service of his country in many parts of the world. Presently he is the ambassador in an Asian country. This is a simply a glimpse at his work and mission.  

 

by Paolo Balduzzi

 

 

 

The Finns taught me to love nature and the light of the sun and also helped me to understand better what respect for the others’ religion means, whereas the Chinese taught me a new geography - because they consider China to be the center of the world (in fact China means ‘The Central Empire’) - and also a greater love for humanity and is sufferings”.

Al is quite an approachable bloke: a far cry from the classical stereotype of the diplomat as a cold and detached person. His view of international politics is extremely lucid and he has a knack of going straight to the point: a characteristic of a diplomat “on God’s mission”. Al has worked mainly in Europe and Asia, and for the past few years he is the ambassador in a country of the Far East… far, that is, for us who live in the West.

“Thanks to my various postings, my family and I have learned to recognize the richness of a broadened humanity, to love the others’ country as our own, to love God in the men and women belonging to other countries and cultures”. 

Your work brings you close to a lot of richness, but also to a lot of sufferings, which are often in contrast with the government’s expectations. Is it possible for a diplomat to live his Christian faith? 

“Yes, it is certainly possible, and my long experience proves it. Chiara Lubich wrote about diplomacy, and this text is my guide for my personal and professional life. Among other things she says: “To become one with the other, completely forgetting one’s self – without noticing or caring. This is the diplomacy of love […]. Divine diplomacy […] moves according to the good of the other and, therefore, it lacks any shadow of egoism”. 

In particular I remember the vital experience that I did with a Chinese friend of mine who has the Ideal of universal brotherhood at heart. When I was still young, my relationship with him helped me overcome my anxiety of “not being up to scratch”. Even though living thousands of miles away, thanks to him I encountered a culture very different from that of my country, and I also found the meaning of my life”.

This is on a personal level. Yet, the idea of a United World seems to be in contrast with the perceived relationships between Countries, which come across as cold, and winds of war are blowing almost everywhere…

“As I was saying, what inspires me in my work is the Ideal of Universal Brotherhood that Chiara Lubich proposed. One day she said: “If a diplomat, in fulfilling his duty, loves the other Contry as his own, s/he will be enlightened by God’s help to establish between those Countries the same relationships that should exist between humans”.  

I can vouch that this affirmation is really true and practical. My professional experience leads me to say that the idea of a United World corresponds to a world in which the richness found in the diversity of every nation constitutes the beauty of the whole. This idea might sound an utopia because of the many conflicts we see in the world; however, this idea is being put into practice, in time and space, in little paces, and thanks to these simple gestures, there is hope for better relationships. I had the opportunity to experience this on many occasions. Let me just mention a small fact that took place during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games: a truly unforgettable spectacle! On that night I was in the stadium with thousands of people. There I felt the inspiration to send an SMS to my colleague, the Chinese Foreign Minister, in which I stated: “Your country is showing all its beauty”. His immediate reply was: “Thank you”. Through this simple act I feel I was loving his country as my own”.

Does working for the good of a nation with the perspective of universal brotherhood mean working for the good of all nations? Is this possible when there are conflicts of interest?

“I would say yes, definitely, even though, sometimes, my work is a real struggle. I remember that when it was my country’s turn to preside the European Union, I was entrusted to run a workshop, on behalf of the Union, to decide the implementation of a ‘European Diplomatic Program’. It was about a professional formation program for young diplomats of the Member States. This program was strongly backed by Germany; however, some States were not happy with having the German language, besides French and English, as the language of the Program. Besides the increase in the cost, there was also the problem of having other languages included, once German was accepted. I had to find a solution. I spoke to the representative of each Country, noting the arguments put forward by them, while never giving preference to my Country or language: I wanted to be at the service of all. However, I was gradually convinced that it would be more advantageous for all Countries if there were one common program of formation, and, also, that it would be useful to keep the two official languages.

I put forward my proposal during a meeting during which we did our utmost so that each member would feel at home. It was a concerted effort, and I still remember vividly that, while preparing at night my speech, it were as if the words I was writing were being inspired. The following day my proposal was unanimously accepted and the European Diplomatic Program is now a reality”.

What are you striving at these days?

“My mission, now, is in a country that is divided and which has a lot of serious problems. In these times my struggle is against obvious things: my limitations, my nothingness, the temptation to isolate myself, the disunity and the lack of basic needs. These are real difficulties and I feel that I need to live them, love and suffer them, and share them to be able to overcome them. This means loving concrete persons, facing the divisions and not avoid them: this was my personal and professional experience of these last years – to love the enemy, the forsaken, to love those without God. To be God’s ambassador, bringing Him wherever he is absent; through my witnessing I wanted to be a bridge that unites persons.    

Yesterday, during a meeting with other colleagues of the European Union, we discussed the situation of the Country where I’m currently posted. I informed the others that, following a meeting with the representative of the World Nutrition Program of the United Nations, I came to know that this program was being closed down; this means denying food to one million and six hundred thousand children, as well as pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. I stated: ‘We are talking about persons, not politics’. The way I spoke wasn’t exactly diplomatically correct; however, some of my colleagues were impressed and came to tell me so. No one contradicted me; their mouths remained shut but their eyes said it all. By considering human beings as persons and by trying to do what is best for them, I managed to allow ‘God’s diplomacy’ to act; we are called to develop this kind of  ‘diplomacy’ to be able to build a true new humanity”.     

Does this apply to us too, even though we are not ambassadors?

“Today I met a colleague; in a newspaper he had read of a nurse, now in pension, who works among the refugees, and who, according to my friend, more than anything else, what they need is a ‘warm human touch’, warmth, human love. When asked what were her plans for the future, the nurse replied that she wanted to be a mediator between two countries, which, although now are enemies, once they were one.  This story underlines exactly this: to be an ambassador, there is no need to be a qualified ‘Ambassador’; that lady would have known how to cure the hearts of persons even if she wasn’t a nurse. As St Augustine says, if we love, we can do anything; indeed the witnessing of Chiara Lubich, and that of all of us who want to live for the same ideal, is a most tangible proof”. 

 

© Photo Copyright chicchera, Creative Commons License

 

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