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“Women & Diplomats” – at the SIOI, a collective view of women in diplomacy

The Secretary General of the Farnesina, Michele Valensise, will be opening the “Women & Diplomats – career and life pathways” exhibition at 12.00 on Thursday 19 June at Piazza San Marco 51, Rome. The exhibition was conceived and funded by the Association of Italian Women Diplomats (Italian initials DID) to present, for the first time in Italy, a collective view of women in diplomacy.

200 photographs illustrating the difficulties and achievements of a life spent among different peoples and cultures.

The approximately 200 photographs plus press articles and other documents on display tell the story of women who are proud to represent their country in the world and promote our national political, economic, cultural and security interests.

The exhibition illustrates the difficulties of a life spent amongst different peoples and cultures, a life always on the move, but also those more private moments dedicated to personal and family life. One example says it all: the photograph of our “colleague with a suitcase”, taken as she was leaving – or perhaps, who knows – arriving. “We hope that this exhibition will provide an insight to our fascinating life as diplomats, a life that presents us with new challenges every day and ensures that our children become citizens of the world at a very early age”, commented Laura Mirachian, President of the Association.

Rising numbers of women passing diplomatic service entrance exam

Today, Italy has 185 women diplomats, approximately 20% of the country’s diplomatic corps. Twelve women are serving as Heads of Mission abroad, two as Directors General at the Farnesina, and 2 are serving at Ambassador rank. Recent years have seen a constant rise in the numbers of women passing the diplomatic service entrance exam: 34% of the successful candidates in 2013.

The exhibition will be staged in the cloister adjoining “Palazzetto Venezia”, which houses the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI). One of the SIOI’s tasks is to run the preparatory courses for the diplomatic service entrance exam. Throughout the exhibition, each Saturday from 10.00 to 12.00 female diplomats will be delighted to meet women interested in entering the service or anyone interested in exchanging views or seeking advice or encouragement.

The exhibition is taking place under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, and the patronage of the Prime Minister’s Office–Department of Equal Opportunities and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Education, Universities and Research; and Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.