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Name: Canisio Tanyanyiwa, Zimbabwean
Station: Khartoum, Republic of the Sudan
Rank / Responsibilities: Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Chancery
Course taken: 5th Course for Diplomats from Africa (AFR 5)
Can you tell us a bit about your career path and your motivation to follow this profession?
I joined the Foreign Service in 2008 out of a desire to find an expression of my personality; an expression of my love for my country as well as an expression of love for global peace. At the time of joining the Foreign Service, I brought with me ten years of religious training with the Jesuits. That included philosophical studies, theological studies and religious studies. I brought with me two years hands-on experience of research at university level as a research officer and business studies.
Since joining the Foreign Service I have worked in various departments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Interfacing with diplomats while at Head Office gave me an urge to explore the international arena as well as understand different peoples. This understanding gives me a wider perspective on how the world order operates. Diversity in that order fascinates me when people are driven by goals that promote their explicit national interests.
In 2012, I was posted to Khartoum, the Sudan. Coming to Sudan opened my eyes to the realities of diplomacy. I have learnt the different skills of listening very carefully, analyzing the information I come across and reporting on what I have seen and heard.
How much did you plan your current tasks to be as they are today and how much did you leave to chance?
As a trained and alert diplomat, my work is all ordered and planned ahead of time. I follow with keen interest on all the developments in the world and always try to figure out their impact on my daily life and the interests of my country. Nothing is left to chance.
When it comes to influencing the international agenda or shaping public policies in your country, what main challenges do you face in your daily life as a professional?
The major challenge I face in trying to shape public policies and the international agenda is the clear disparity and emphasis on difference in the world. I often feel sidelined, suppressed because of my geographical origins – Africa. Yet, I feel this immense energy and zeal to fruitfully want to contribute towards respect for all peoples of the world.
If you hadn’t followed this career, what other profession could you see yourself in and why?
If I had not joined the Foreign Service, I would be a full time lecturer at university. I love business, economics and philosophy. I believe in influencing change and transformation around the world. I have convinced myself that I can be of greater service to humanity if I influence events and their outcomes with people around me. Lecturing positions the lecturer at the centre of other people’s thought systems thus a driver of change in people’s lives. I see diplomacy doing exactly the same thing: driving people to change.
How do you think our alumni network could serve your purposes better?
The alumni network is the realization of positive globalization. Distance, race and religion are all “ignored” when the alumni share the world problems. A religious or social problem seizes to be a curse but a blessing because of the pollination of great and various ideas. The alumni network serves that purpose for me: I feel and want to feel more comfortable to tap into the pool of expertise on international relations (diplomacy).
How would you be willing to participate in our network?
I am willing to participate in subject oriented alumni meetings. I am prepared to participate in sub-regional clusters of alumni where practical diplomacy is practiced. I am further willing to give my time in preparation for such meetings and give them a perspective of the evolving world order and world history.
These interviews are the opinion of the interviewed Alumni and do not represent the views of Training for International Diplomats or the Federal Foreign Office. Training for International Diplomats and the Federal Foreign Office are not responsible for the content of these interviews.