Born in the U.S., Dutch in height and charismatic in appearance, the last key note speaker at the opening ceremony was the head of EU division for the Dutch Foreign Ministry and former spokesman for the permanent representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the EU. Fancy title, isn’t it?
The atmosphere after Tony Agotha’s speech indeed was electric – delegates came up to him, introduced him to a newly developed App, asked him for advice on their future careers and thanked him for what has been considered a motivational and mobilising speech.
Indeed Mr. Agotha grasped to full extent what thirsty delegates have been waiting for: tips on negotiating, do’s in diplomacy and useful life philosophies for the ‘new generation’. A lot of truth has been spoken. This generation suffers from an overwhelming amount of information take in every day, which also poses a threat for future diplomacy. When was the last time you read a book, dear participants?
And when coming to the conference, have you realized what chance you are taking up? It is here at the EuroMun that you build your social network.
What we can furthermore learn from Mr. Agotha is to look outside diplomacy and think out of the box, to take even tiniest stories in our every day lives as an experience – negotiating is a human endeavour after all. Common mistakes, as he revealed, happen if negotiators ignore exactly this fact. So be honest (although for some of you it will be hard those coming days because of the given country positions) and give yourself a break from time to time. As experienced delegates know, the most important decisions and thinking processes are taken exactly during those lunch breaks, outside the conference hall.
So what you should keep in mind leaving those halls, leaving Maastricht to a bright future is to not take everything for granted. “Show no prejudice down or up”, don’t be one of those people. It’s your turn, make the best out of it.
By Lina Pfeifer
Photo credits: Judith Jakob