IN March this year, HE Jairo Hernández-Milián, the Ambassador of the Embassy of Costa Rica in Singapore was chosen as the new representative head of the diplomatic corp in the island republic. Mrs Nomita Dhar, the Publisher and Editor in Chief of IN Diplomacy welcomed the Costa Rican diplomat who has been posted here since 2012. The Ambassador kindly consented to a short interview on his duty as Dean here. He succeeded HE Luis Fernando de Andrade Serra who was the Ambassador of Brazil in Singapore then.

“First of all, let me say I am very honored to receive the new responsibilities from another dean from the Latin American region. While I have to fulfil several responsibilities, the main objective of this office is to integrate all the ambassadors. We are all here for the same purpose – to encourage a better relationship with Singapore, foster trade, investment, good practices, tourism and culture. We are also here only for a certain time, so why not integrate ourselves in the best possible way.” He elaborated that there are many ways to achieve it through organizing formal, academic, cultural, sports or recreational events.

Since he took office, he made it his personal mission to meet ALL the more than 70 resident ambassadors here and had completed doing this within a period of less than two months.

Looking Forward
During these courtesy calls on the ambassadors he learnt much, among other things, he said, “It was very constructive as I also get to hear about their expectations, their needs and, in some cases, even their concerns.” He is now in the midst of processing all these information and sharing with them what he found out and trying to create a programme in the very near future that will be of use to all in the diplomatic community. These would be in the form of activities, briefings and relaying some requests to the government here and he said, “Above all, it means more integration and cordial relations between us.”

About Being Here
The Ambassador also shared his feelings about the island republic and said that Singapore is a very unique country and he has picked up “many good lessons” during his four years here. “It is a very interesting society. It has become a very successful country in a relatively short period of time and it is very fortunate for us ambassadors here to see how this was done. Singapore might be a very small,  tiny country but it is a very powerful hub for many things and this gives us many opportunities to do many things with other countries in the world.”

The Media and Embassies
In answer to Mrs Nomita’s question about the numerous activities organized by embassies and what can be done to help publicise them, Ambassador Hernandez’ stance was “That is an important question  as I think much has yet to be done. I do not think the general public or the main business, academic or cultural communities know many details about what we do as diplomats here. Some may even have wrong perceptions about what we do.” He also felt that, “It is important that the media reflect our reality, what we do as ambassadors. I think it would be fantastic if Singaporeans get to know what an Embassy does.”

On the role of IN Diplomacy as a channel for raising more awareness about the foreign diplomatic community in Singapore, “I think it is a positive initiative that will help and contribute much to disseminate what the embassies do, by covering our activities. The general public and specific communities will be able to ‘click’ with us. It will have a multiplier effect and the embassies will be able to facilitate work with these communities here, in the best possible way.” He also felt that it can grow to be a powerful platform to link all the embassies in Singapore as well as with the general public. “We should all take advantage of this important media that can cover the important activities of the embassies. I, of course, wish you the best, for a successful endeavor and am very grateful for this initiative,” said the Ambassador.