GSD Dean Angell-Hansen
GSD Dean, Ambassador Angell-Hansen has been a very busy lady this Spring. Her duties as Vice Chair of the UN Human Rights Council have been particularly intense, and very successful in the area of negotiation (more anon !). On campus too, her intelligence, enthusiasm and warmth cast a spell over GSD students and matched the unusual spell of warm Summer weather that has blessed Geneva this April !
GSD Dean Bente Angell-Hansen - who is Norway’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva - gave, at a special GSD lunch on 7 April, a fascinating and incisive discourse on the inner and current workings of the UN Human Rights Council. Nearly 50 students and faculty listened as the Ambassador - a Vice Chair of the Council - explained recent key negotiations of the central UN human rights body. She then held her audience in thrall with insightful observations on different diplomatic negotiation styles and techniques. Even in the most complex of professional negotiations, she said, “the human element is key”.
The Ambassador described leading agenda items currently before the UN Human Rights Council. She explained how the different regional groups functioned diplomatically and how the bureau of the Council coordinated and dovetailed the body’s heavy workload.
After a buffet lunch the Dean-Ambassador took questions from faculty and students. She concluded her remarks with a special urging and encouragement of female GSD students to be more active and to prepare to take their rightful place among the next generation of the world’s leaders. Our GSD Dean then generously took the time to meet, individually, each of the students present. Finally, the Dean graciously invited all present to her embassy residence for a special GSD reception to be held at a later date, just before the Easter break.
That glittering reception took place on 18 April at the Ambassador’s residence. GSD students and faculty found themselves most graciously and warmly welcomed to a garden party by Ambassador Angell-Hansen. Though an early-evening April event, the Dean’s reception was, in strong sunshine, virtually a Summer garden party.
Addressing GSD students and faculty in the fine garden of her residence, Ambassador Angell-Hansen spoke of the recent further advance of key Human Rights Council negotiations. She looked forward too, she said, to her next talk at GSD where an analytical comparison of theory and practice could be related to those recent negotiations. Actual diplomatic practice was constantly forcing theory to evolve.
Speaking on behalf of the whole GSD community present, GSD President Dr. Colum Murphy thanked the Dean for her outstanding hospitality and led a toast to the Ambassador’s latest achievement - a just-announced promotion for her to Permanent Secretary in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry: once again a “first” for women. (Ambassador Angell-Hansen is also the first woman Dean of GSD). “GSD is both proud and pleased” Dr. Murphy said “to have the Ambassador as GSD’s very own Dean”. The raised glasses of all present concluded a warm reception that was not only inspiring for students but both sunny and elegant for all.