We see ambassadors, diplomats and expats from different countries working day in and day out, representing their respective countries in a different nation altogether. For all they do and act, they complete their official duties, but do they have any social duty towards the nation they are living in? A general wonderment would reflect answers towards ‘no’, while they are not a citizen to the country they are currently in
During the last visit of our late President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to Athens, Greece in 2007, I was lucky enough to meet him in person and discuss about different issues persisting in the societies of India and Greece. I clearly remember his response, when I asked him about the social duties of an expatriate towards the nation they are currently living in. For the noble figure he was and loved for, he said:
“It is your moral and social duty to give all of your efforts to bring a wave of changes in the country you are living in. This is the only way in which you can make yours and this country proud.”
His kind words added fuel to the zeal I had, to serve nations, their societies and work for the upliftment of the citizens across. The stage was set, the goal was predefined, and as I started upon working on the social grounds as an Expatriate in India, I faced a number of challenges. These were not only crippling my reach towards the actual pain-points of the society, but at the same time working as rumble-strips in my proceeding.
Before diving in to the challenges, we need to understand why and how an expatriate should work for the countries they are working in. Here is all:
- The Expatriates belong to a different nation altogether, where not only the culture, but education and values are different. When they come to another to work, they can always perform a transfer of their culture and values, bringing a change to the society for better.
- Usually people believe that charity is the solution for the upliftment of the society, while it is not a sustainable solution. Giving away charity can fill in the gap for time-being, but in the long run, the society will continue to face the same challenges over and over again.
- Expatriates are not well-aware of all the evils crippling the society and there are no defined measures to analyze the same, creating a major gap for them.
An Expatriate is of high value, for the culture, knowledge and values he/she brings If these golden assets are utilized in a manner that they benefit society at large, it creates ripples across the masses, not only bringing massive changes in the society, but at the same time, paves a way for other expatriates to follow. Their work towards the societies can facilitate in the upliftment of women, children, slums, laws and eventually the mindsets and culture.
If the Diplomatic Social Responsibility can bring such major changes in a country, then why aren’t we doing such in India? The answer is, due to a number of challenges they face, from the beginning of their planning phase itself.
When I started to work as an expatriate in India, the first challenge I faced was major gap between us and the societies. For people like us, we had no clue from where to begin or rather, whom shall we start with. There are no such government portals that would allow us to explore the societies and areas that would need to be worked upon. With time, I got linked with different social workers and NGOs, leading me to a Madarsa, where we worked together to teach communication skills to underprivileged kids. With each visit to the Madarsa, not only we received abundance of love from the administration, but witnessed the excitement of kids for learning a completely new stream that will open gates for newer and brighter opportunities.
One of my projects under Diplomatic Social Responsibilities was a Mentorship Programme in Jamia Millia Islamia, where the Ambassador of Bosnia joined in for sharing his expertise and experience gained over years of service and work. All these activities were only possible due to the support of NGOs and Social Workers, who had knowledge about the societies and areas to work upon. Otherwise, there was no defined route to opt and work for the betterment of the society, no matter how strong the will was to serve.
What is the answer to this challenge or gap? We, as a nation, need to create such portals, where not only diplomats, but any person could reach and find the list of NGOs, societies or areas, where he/she can contribute towards the cause and help in making this world a better place to live.
I am all in to serve the country, to serve the society and the humans, are you?