11 March 2017, Harare- European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Philippe Van Damme (far left on the picture below) bagged the 2017 diplomat of the year award at a ceremony held on 10 March 2017.
H.E. Van Damme won the award at the sixth edition of the Diplomat of the Year Awards ceremony, which was hosted under the theme “Promoting Economic and Social Inclusion”.
Addressing over 225 participants at the awards ceremony as a guest of Honour, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli said, “The United Nations has recently successfully spearheaded two major diplomatic efforts: Defined sustainable development agenda for the world for the next 15 years, and facilitated binding climate action to protect the planet from the deadly effects of climate change.”
“We need a system innovation to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to uplift 1.2 billion people out of poverty, redeem 800 million from hunger, ensure access to quality education for 20 million children, achieve universal health coverage for all and inclusive growth and decent jobs for all”, underlined the UN Resident Coordinator.
Diplomacy could greatly facilitate such a system innovation which in turn will increase the chances of a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at national, regional and global levels.
Mr. Parajuli paid tribute to outstanding UN diplomats who died in line of duty. He said, “I pay tribute to our 2nd UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld, and the former United Nations' Special Representative in Iraq Sérgio Vieira de Mellomany and many other UN diplomats and officials who left their loved ones and comfortable lives in service of humanity in isolated and remote areas and died in line of duty.”
Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. He served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961.
Sérgio Vieira de Mellomany was a Brazilian United Nations diplomat who worked for the UN for more than 34 years, earning respect and praise around the world for his efforts in the humanitarian and political programs of the UN.
The UN Resident Coordinator said, “Let’s follow the footsteps of these great selfless diplomats and stalwarts of humanity as we work together to end poverty, hunger, inequality, and promote human rights, inclusive growth and sustainable development for all.”
In other awards, Australian Ambassador H.E Suzanne McCourt was named outstanding head of mission from Asia, Australia and Americas together with Ambassador of China, H.E Huang Ping , of Cuba, H.E Elio Savon Oliva, Ambassador of Korea, Kwon Yong Kyu.
H.E Phillipe Van Damme, Ambassador of Netherlands, H.E. Gera Sneller and Italy, H.E Enrico De Agostini were winners as outstanding heads of missions from Europe.
In Africa, Ambassador of Egypt, H.E Moayad-Fathallah-El-Dalie; South Africa’s, H.E Mphakama Mbete; Namibian Ambassador H.E. Balbina Daes Piennaar; and Zambia’s Ambassador were also honoured.
In Middle East, Ambassador of Palestine to Zimbabwe H.E Taghrid Senouar was named the winner.
Outstanding deputy ambassadors or first secretaries were also recognized for their work, with Fahad Alshatti of Kuwait and Chargé d’ Affaires of Malaysia, Mr. Amarjit Singh Sarjit Singh were named winners.
Former president of Zambia, H.E Dr. David Kenneth Kaunda was recognized for a life time commitment and dedication to freedom of many countries in Africa through diplomacy.