By Eliza Kydoniefs
ROME — Shadowing the British Ambassador to the Holy See this past week has been the realization of a dream I never knew I had.
It started earlier this month when I received a proposal by The Lay Centre, where I reside as a graduate student in Rome, to participate in the British Embassy’s “Ambassador for a Day” initiative. The initiative hopes to promote gender equality, which the British government, as well as other countries that participate in this initiative, advocate.
I was very happy to have this opportunity since I wholeheartedly believe that empowering and giving women a voice is empowering society. And it is this empowerment that I received from Lay Centre Director Donna Orsuto, who offered me an opportunity to pursue my studies in Rome and fight for my future.
My first meeting with Ambassador Sally Axworthy was March 5, at a conference organized by the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations. There, not only did I meet an ambassador, but also a warm, intelligent and passionate woman, very much interested in what I had to say, a woman who took me by the hand and introduced me to everyone.
In the short time we had together, Ambassador Axworthy and I exchanged opinions about women’s empowerment and what can be done to help achieve this goal.
I was amazed to witness the strong bonds between the female ambassadors to the Holy See.
“There are enough of us, and we stay together, trying to organize events and address important subjects,” the ambassador told me during a coffee break.
This is the point of it all, I think: strong, intelligent, female leaders networking and working, not only for their lives but also to improve the lives of other women around the world.
But even this is not enough. We cannot wait passively for others’ initiatives, their proposals, their help. What we are obliged to do is to try to empower one another every day, with every opportunity.
I am most grateful to have had this opportunity, this beautiful life-changing experience, with a natural leader, such as Ambassador Axworthy, and other women who strive everyday to provide all of us with the opportunity for a better future.
I have enjoyed shadowing the ambassador today, March 8, at various events linked to International Women’s Day. And, who knows? Perhaps in the future, I can become an ambassador for my country for more than a day.