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  • Author: varder
  • Date: 2-12-2014, 07:47
2-12-2014, 07:47

Meeting with the Ambassador

Category: Information

Meeting Her Majesty's Ambassador to Ukraine Mr. Simon Smith was something I had been looking forward to since the day after the national rounds of the International Public Speaking Competition in Kirovograd ended. Needless to say, visiting an Ambassador in his residence for teais not an everyday experience.

The anticipation of the meeting was further enlarged by the amount of time I had to wait – initially planned for April-May, it was finally held in November. As one can see, the aggression of our tri-coloured neighbour causes discrepancies and inconveniences at many levels – geopolitical and personal alike.

Having finally stepped onto what formally is British territory under theVienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, that is Mr. Ambassador’s residence, the first thing that came across my mind is that his temporary dwelling felt like a home of a British family. There was the simple yet exquisiteinterior, with big floor space and high ceilings that gave the place a feeling of both homely coziness and diplomatic esteem.

As I was pouring myself a cup of tea with milk (milk first, I’ve heard that’s how they do it in Britain’s north) whilst admiring the many paintings and features of the interior, a pleasant-looking man approached us. “Simon” – he introduced himself, shook everyone’s hand with a smile and invited the six of us into the living room. Mr. Smith followed the diplomatic protocol even in a meeting with students.

What followed next is a discussion so interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring that it really should have been put in a word-for-word record of the meeting and published somewhere. Of course, this is all thanks to Mr. Smithalong with his wife Sian, who were great hosts and conversation keepers. They toldus their life stories, were interested to hear ours, gave in-depth answers to both easy questions and not. Surely, because Britain plays a significant role in supporting Ukraine in our strive for European way of life and war against the Kremlin, and Mr. Smith is a representative of the British government, a large part of the time was dedicated to the topics of Maidan, Crimea, Donbas, war. Not the most pleasant topics for a teatime conversation, but such are the times we live in.

Fortunately, and thanks to Margarita Danilko, after quite a while we switched to the topic of literature, as I was still itching with questions about politics and international law, overexcited by Ambassador’s answers and insight. He reminded me of his colleague and my grandfather. It seems that with both of them I could talk for hours and never run out of topics to discuss and argue about.

 

The result of Mr. Smith’s and Sian’s hospitality was that we spent more than two hours at the residence – twice as much of what was initially agreed upon. For us, the students, it was a chance to view our country and its problems from a foreign perspective in an educated way, get a grasp of how the world sees us. And I hope that for the lovely Smith’s it was a chance to perceive the struggles of a young generation of Ukrainians – the ones too young to be in political power, yet too old not to be involved in the creation of their new home and a new Ukraine.  

VladyslavDanyleiko, the winner of the NPSC 2014, a law student of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

 

                                                                                                                     

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