The World Affairs Council in Washington, DC has named South Africa as the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award. The award was received last night (29 March 2016) by His Excellency Mninwa Mahlangu, Ambassador of South Africa to the United States, on behalf of the South African government.
South African is the first African country to receive this award.
The World Affairs Council Honors recognise organisations who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to global education, international affairs and global communications.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said: “South Africa is truly humbled to receive this prestigious award. This recognition will further inspire and encourage our diplomats who work 24/7 around the world to advance our country’s national interests”.
South Africa’s international engagements are driven by our foreign policy vision of a “united African continent that is peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous; and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable.”
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane further said: “In pursuit of our foreign policy vision, South Africa’s diplomacy is informed and guided by the philosophy of Ubuntu; I am because you are. It speaks to our core humanity, inter-dependence and co-existence”.
This award comes at a time when South African diplomats are focussed on achieving the goals set out in the National Development Plan. The pursuit of economic diplomacy, promotion of educationand skills development and other priorities of government as articulated in the 9-point plan as announced by President Jacob Zuma.
One of the areas where South Africa partners with the World Affairs Council is the Global Education Teacher Exchange program. This speaks to the commitment to the promotion of education and training as a tool of empowerment for individuals and society as a whole.