Time to nominate your unsung hero

Thursday 24th May 2012

By Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Director of Grassroot Diplomat

This November, the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Awards will recognise outstanding achievements made by politicians and diplomats who put ordinary citizens at the heart of what they do.

Every day, diplomats, policy-makers and politicians strive hard to improve the lives of ordinary citizens that they represent but such vital work is often overshadowed by blunders, crises and global challenges consistently met by the international community. Amidst the pessimism and gloom taking hold over Britain and much of the world, the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Awards will recognise outstanding members of the diplomatic and political community who are already working hard for the people that they represent.

Grassroot Diplomat is a diplomatic consultancy founded a year ago by the original ‘grassroot diplomat’, Talyn Rahman-Figueroa. In recognition of the growing divide between politicians and citizens, Ms Rahman-Figueroa wanted to create a mechanism through which meaningful dialogue and cooperation could take place between the governing and governed. Grassroot Diplomat therefore facilitates understanding and cooperation for mutual interests between political leaders and civil society supporting the interest of the people, above and beyond political and national interest.

That connection between those who elect and those who are elected is a vital relationship at the core of any healthy democracy. Rather than harnessing that relationship, political leaders grow less ‘in touch’ with the needs of ordinary people who then feel that their interests are invisible.

The steady decline in political engagement between representatives and the community has resulted in marginalisation, threatening the very fabric of democracy, underlining the growing need for grassroot diplomats to bridge this gap.

Where such efforts are made by civil servants, politicians, diplomats and elected Parliamentarians, it is only right that they are commended, publicly recognised and further encouraged to promote the interest of their representatives.

On 8th November 2012, Grassroot Diplomat will be celebrating its first official anniversary by recognising the exceptional efforts made by members of the political and diplomatic corps that are actively engaged with and improving the lives of individuals and communities. The awards will acknowledge the true ‘Grassroot Diplomats’ with the hope of encouraging a stronger culture of grassroot diplomacy across the policy-making sector.

Grassroot Diplomat will be awarding six politicians and diplomats on three core areas: positive change in policy, close engagement with non-government organisations, and support of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Grassroot Diplomat Initiative will acknowledge laudable triumphs in influencing policy; inspiring accomplishments in support of non-governmental organisations and social projects; and praiseworthy achievements to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs.

On the day, the ceremony will also raise funds to support underfunded organisations in six countries that require independent diplomatic assistance. That will give supporters the opportunity to learn more about the concept of grassroot diplomacy and provide an avenue to understand projects led by civil society.

The evening will be both a celebration of the inspiring achievements as well as a reminder of the wonderful contributions that can still make a significant positive difference to communities in all regions.

Nomination forms will be sent out to all constituencies, parliamentary offices and embassies in the UK from 31 May 2012. If you know of a deserving politician or diplomat who has made remarkable progress in supporting civil society, please nominate them.

The Nomination deadline is 28 June 2012. All award recipients will be expected to attend the award ceremony with plenty of press opportunities and networking with international VIP guests.

Lead by example so that others may follow in the footsteps of this year’s Grassroot Diplomats.

For more information about the awards ceremony, please contact awards@grassrootdiplomat.org or visit www.grassrootdiplomat.org

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