Wars, Trade & Tourism: African Style Soft Diplomacy by Dr. Walter Mzembi

Walter Mzembi

One of the most talented African diplomats, a former foreign minister, and the candidate for Africa for a UNWTO secretary general in 2018. Dr. Walter Mzembi is back on the global stage. After 7 years, having left is native Zimbabwe, having resided in exile, Dr. Mzembi was back in Berlin, Germany among a distinguished audience of diplomats from around the world. The discussion on Culture and Folklore Diplomacy 2024 goes a lot further than music and dancing. Dr. Mzembi opened his toolbox.

Dr. Walter Mzembi, former foreign and tourism minister of Zimbabwe who has been living in exile in South Africa, Eswatini, and Zambia delivered his heartfelt speech at the Berlin Forum on Culture and Folklore Diplomacy 2024 last week. The event in the German Capital was a reopening for him and showed what he does best.

Dr. Walter Mzembi on the global stage.

Those attending the Berlin event shared his excitement. Judging from the warm welcome he received from Irina Bulova, the 10th director General of UNESCO, and Alex Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland, by Hakima El Haite from Morocco, and everyone else attending the event, he was back among people he feels comfortable with.

War and Conflict

Mzembi said: “It was great hearing from both the former Chairman of the Presidency to my Right HE Mladen Ivanic on ‘Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia & Herzegovina and Afghanistan have been topical issues in the past – war & conflict.

Lessons Learned

Former Minister of Interior in Afghanistan Ali Jalali and now a distinguished professor at the National Defense University, Washington on ‘Cultural Dynamism in Peace and Conflict- Political fallout of Mass Migration ‘.

Conflict is very expensive and should be avoided at all costs. As they say, if the conditions post-conflict are inevitably worse than before the conflict why go into it at all?

The Mzembi Diplomatic Toolbox explained

Dr. Walter Mzembi explained his “toolbox” of diplomatic soft approach and people-to-people diplomacy, and his success when Zimbabwe and Zambia hosted the UNWTO General Assembly in his country.

Mzembi talked in Berlin a little about the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

Pete Vowles’s soft approach and skills and how it has marinated a hitherto suspicious administration trusting of British intentions on Zimbabwe and broken these barriers to mutual trust and understanding.

It’s a departure from gunboat and instructive diplomacy to an immersive cultural diplomacy thrust, very effective.

A major challenge today is not hard skills but soft skills.

You can be the best engineer, social scientist, banker, architect, miner, or farmer – but if you cannot communicate your knowledge it comes to naught you cannot pass it on. Communication is not just spoken but an interactive cross-cultural mutual understanding. Learning and respecting cultural diversity, and soft skills are a serious requisite for cultural diplomacy competence and create adept diplomats who can navigate complex cultural & political dynamics necessary to foster mutual understanding and harmonious relationships between countries.

Mzembi was seen smiling for the Cameras with Dr Erato Kozakou- Marcoullis Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Communication & Works for Cyprus.

He praised his colleague Akima El Haite from Morocco, who was twice named by the Times as one of the 100 most influential persons. “Hakima is a mover and shaker in the topic of Climate Change, in fact, a distinguished champion and President of the Liberal International,” Mzembi explained.

When asked about the most impressive presentation, he referred to the former president of Romania, Emil Constantinescu. Mzembi said: “Listening to him is like drinking from the well of Jacob – immense wisdom !”

The Berlin Forum on Folklore Diplomacy 2024 took take place in Berlin, Germany, from May 16 to 19, 2024, focusing on Culture and Folklore Diplomacy to serve as a powerful vehicle of cultural diplomacy within and between nations.

“My Presentation here in Berlin was on the unforgivable iniquity in the 21st Century of continuing to export unprocessed Raw Materials to the World by Africa and the attendant exporting of jobs and greater latent value which our people follow at great cost to their lives across the Mediterranean and other barriers to entry.

We should be exporting Lithium Batteries instead of ore, and keep our Gold at home instead of keeping SKRs of our resources which are leveraged at greater value at our expense overseas.

Where our Resources are concerned we should not only think outside the box but throw the box away!

We need new generational champions of Value Addition & Beneficiation & keep the jobs at home!

On Cultural Diplomacy my closing remarks were on the failure of Diplomacy itself inside the UN and its systems and that unless the Reform Agenda at the UN is taken more seriously and urgently, the UN will not be able to mediate, intervene, or stop conflicts.

Dr. Walter Mzembi was awarded the Tourism Hero Status by the World Tourism Network.

WTNJOIN | eTurboNews | eTN

(eTN): Wars, Trade & Tourism: African Style Soft Diplomacy by Dr. Walter Mzembi | re-post license post content


About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Share to...