BERLIN (IDN) — The Non-profit global media agency International Press Syndicate, with IDN-InDepthNews as its flagship, had invited two renowned international relations practitioners and diplomats to join it to support its global mission and outreach activities. We are pleased to announce that the former Sri Lankan career Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez and the former Secretary General of the Organization of ACP States Ambassador Dr. P.I. Gomes have accepted our invitation.
Ambassador Azeez, who joins us on October 1, 2021, will support us as “Multilateral Diplomacy Advisor” and Dr. Gomes “Advisor for the African, Caribbean and Pacific States”. Mr. Azeez will have an additional charge as “Editorial Coordinator” for South Asia and Middle East.
Ambassador Azeez chaired in 2014 the Group of 77 (G-77) in Vienna in its 50th anniversary, followed by his election as the President of the General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He also took on leadership roles within the UNIDO and the CTBTO and chaired as well the Multilateral Diplomatic Committee in Vienna. In 2017, he contributed to the renegotiation of Sri Lanka’s access to the EU GSP + benefit after the country had lost it in 2010.
According to informed sources, it involved a complex process which required active follow-up on international conventions; nuanced, sensitive, but extensive negotiations; and confidence and consensus building which he and his team piloted successfully at the experts’ level. In Geneva, Ambassador Azeez chaired several multilateral conferences, which led to consensus outcomes on some of the most intractable issues, which included, inter alia, UN Human Rights Council’s Social Forum and UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Committee (2018), and WHO’s Global Coordination Mechanism on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and the Conference of States Parties to the International Convention on Cluster Munitions (2019).
Ambassador Dr. P.I. Gomes designated as our Advisor for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States served as Secretary-General of the Group of ACP States for five years until February 29, 2020. The 79-nation inter-regional body officially became the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) on April 5, 2020. Dr Gomes was previously Ambassador of the Republic of Guyana to the EU in Brussels. He was also accredited to the Government of Italy, the FAO and WTO during the years 2005 until 2015 when he joined the ACP as Secretary-General. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a top negotiator and consensus-builder.
The International Press Syndicate which had followed Ambassador Azeez’s professional path closely since 2011 has taken the view that his innovative perspectives and insights on varied global and regional challenges; this clarity of thought; his accessibility, outreach and public diplomacy; and strategic leadership and consensus-building abilities are among assets that are too invaluable to be laid to rest after his retirement from Sri Lanka’s public service.
It is especially so at a time when the media and the world at large need creative thinkers, who can help others see the blind spots in the evolving international and regional geo-strategic landscape. Our decision to offer the position of Multilateral Diplomacy Advisor with an additional charge as Editorial Coordinator rests on this recognition and assessment made.
Ambassador Gomes will contribute to our thematic discourses on regional and international issues and provide substantive advice on trade and development related matters as concerns African, Caribbean and Pacific regions. He will also guide us in our outreach activities and network-building.
Ambassador Azeez will have the freedom to comment on multilateral and regional issues; guide our institution in its work and performance and assist other media institutions/think tanks which seek inter-agency support, with critical inputs, strategic mapping and capacity-building; lead thematic colloquium and interactive dialogues on issues of global and regional concern; advise on multilateral issues, public diplomacy, and global policy. We have a number of governmental and non-profit partners who will be delighted to have his advice on a wide range of multilateral issues. [IDN-InDepthNews – 12 September 2021]
Photo: Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez (left) and former ACP SG Dr. P.I. Gomes (right).