Society of International Affairs Hosts Inaugural Ambassadors Ball

Posted on: 20 March 2015

An international gathering of diplomats attended the Society of International Affairs (SOFIA) Inaugural Ambassadors Ball in aid of UNICEF Ireland on March 3rd. The purpose of the Ball was to raise funds for vulnerable children round the world through UNICEF, and to provide a space for students with an interest in international relations and foreign affairs to meet with diplomats. The Ambassadors Ball was the first of its kind in Trinity, and in Ireland.

Guests in attendance included H.E. The Mexican Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Carlos García de Alba, H.E. The Italian Ambassador to Ireland, M. Giovanni Adorni Braccesi Chiassi, H.E. The Kenyan Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Richard A. Opembe, H.E. The Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Al-Drees, H.E. The Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Ahmad Abdelrazek, Dr Syed Rizwan Ahmed, Charge d' Affaires of the Embassy of Pakistan, Dublin, Rafael Soriano, Deputy Head of the Spanish Mission to Ireland, Senator Lorraine Higgins and Senator Catherine Noone.

Students were given the opportunity to apply to sit near the diplomat they were most interested in speaking to resulting in each diplomat having a table full of enthusiastic and interested students.

“Trinity students are the best ambassadors for the college and are an asset to be valued as many alumni go into diplomatic and political careers. Students were delighted to be able to talk to diplomats about international issues and careers in diplomacy over dinner. In turn, they gave the Ambassadors an insight into college life in Trinity and the traditions associated with the college. We hope the Ambassadors Ball will have a permanent place not only on the Central Societies Committee calendar, but on the College calendar too,” commented SOFIA Chair, Aoife Noelle Ngo.

Speaking at the Ball, the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said:  “We value our clubs and societies as intrinsic to the Trinity Education. In Trinity we are educating, not just for a first job, but for a career and for active citizenship. We understand that participating in clubs and societies and in other extracurricular activities helps imbue students with more independence, initiative, entrepreneurship, communication skills, civic-mindedness and other attributes key to career and to character development”.

SOFIA is one of Trinity’s newest societies: it was founded just two years ago, but last year it won the Best New Society award, and already, it exemplifies all that is best in clubs and societies in Trinity. Many ambassadors and other guests come to speak to SOFIA throughout the year. However, this particular event gave students the opportunity to engage with the guests in a more informal discussion.

The Society’s aim is to educate its members about international affairs. It has sent members to represent Trinity at student conferences abroad such as Model United Nations and Model European Union. SOFIA actively collaborates with the Trinity Careers Advisory Service in facilitating EU careers workshops in international affairs where members were addressed by staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Additionally, MEP Brian Hayes addressed SOFIA members in an intimate careers networking breakfast event in January. SOFIA has hosted many other ambassadors in the past including the Russian Ambassador, the Australian Ambassador and the Israeli Ambassador, and foreign dignitaries such as Minister Repentin of France and former Israeli Knesset member Ms Einat Wilf. The society closed its successful year by hosting the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Mr Jianguo Xu on March 18th at an event in the Printing House.

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