“A diplomatic spouse is like a PR specialist”

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In an exclusive interview with the Azeri Observer Magazine, the spouse of the Jordanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Mrs. Dana Ghosheh, explains how she sees the mission of a diplomatic spouse, what they are asked to sacrifice but also what they receive in return. She also explains what she admires most about her husband and sheds a light on Jordanian traditions aa well as her observations in the similar features between Jordanian and Azerbaijani people.

BY ELENA KOSOLAPOVA

AZERI OBSERVER STAFF WRITER

Question: First of all, could you tell our readers about yourself – your childhood, family, education?

Answer: I was born and raised in Amman, Jordan. Our parents always taught me and my 2 sisters and brother to care about each other and help those in need. I still do some volunteer work, whenever I get a chance. My social responsibility developed while I was growing up. I would like to keep the magic going and pass it on to my children, help them to learn to be thankful for everything they have, and to appreciate things, no matter how small they are. Regarding my education, I studied English Literature and with perseverance received my BA degree in 3 years.

Q.: How did you meet your husband, Mr. Ambassador?

A.: We married in 2005, and at that time it was very common to marry traditionally in Jordan. At the first visit, arranged by a friend, his family came to meet mine, and at the next visit he was there too. I can’t say it was a fairytale, but we clicked the moment we met! Then we spent time getting to know each other for a few months, before tying the knot!

Q.: What do you most admire about him?

A.: His sense of humor and fun spirit comes first, and then his ambition and persistence towards achievement and success! Ever since I’ve known him, he always talked about what he wanted to accomplish. He worked hard and was able to prove himself through his chosen path, and became one of the youngest appointed Jordanian ambassadors, as a result.

Q.: How has the profession of your husband influenced your life and professional career?

A.: I am among many women around the world, who were unable to follow their professional careers, and became incorporated into their husbands’ work and way of life instead. Foreign services become our new lifestyle, and we have to adapt and meet the expectations required upon us. It is very hard to pursue the desired career path. A lot of “diplowives” suffer from repeated rejections on job applications due to the shifting around and frequent job changes. This can be very frustrating and stands in the way of many competencies, especially women empowerment. However, it does not mean that we should shy away in the background and limit our duties; on the contrary, we should always try to look for alternative chances and create our own path.

Q.: How would you describe the role of a diplomatic spouse? What is the primary mission of the spouse of a diplomat?

A.: I would say it means to be a dedicated representative of our country; a good defender, and a skilled promoter who would endorse the country in all aspects…it’s more like a PR specialist. Other requirements include supporting the spouse in all tasks, building connections and creating collaborative opportunities between the two countries.

Q.: Does your experience in the sphere of communication help you in diplomatic circles?

A.: Communication is a tool or attempt to create a shared understanding where previously there were contested understandings. So, communication skills enable you to become more successful in diplomatic circles, therefore, my communication background does help a lot.

Q.: As a communication specialist, could you give us a recipe for effective communication?

A.: What is most important, is a lot of confidence and belief in what you’re communicating. Set your goal, define the main message you wish to convey and know your audience to reach it effectively. Always remember that people are different and require a different approach in communicating; and finely tune your communication skills! 

Q.: What are the advantages and disadvantages of the life of a diplomat?

A.: There are more advantages than disadvantages… I see it as half-full! Whether abroad or in your home country, diplomats become exposed to all kinds of civilizations and cultures; introduced to global lifestyles. Sometimes, misconceptions about a certain country or nation are cleared once you meet a country representative. Another advantage is that throughout our journey, we have made wonderful friends from all over the globe, and we cherish all the moments spent with each one of them. That is my favorite part.

Q.: How has the diplomatic life influenced your daughters?

A.: They were much younger when they were abroad the last time. Although it would be a good experience for them to be exposed to new cultures, civilizations, and learning new languages, we decided not to move them now, when they are approaching their senior school years. We let them decide whether they wanted to finish school in Amman or abroad, and the two eldest didn’t want to leave their schools. We totally respect that, as we care about their opinion when it comes to such major decisions!

Q: How do you spend your free time? What activity energizes you and brings you excitement?

A.: The best time is the one spent with my girls. They bring such joy and pride to me and to their father. We like to take walks, have discussions and even simple things like watching movies or kitchen activities. I also do a lot of reading, but not literature. Nowadays, I am more into bestselling novels and work-related essays and case studies.    

Q.: Jordan is famous for its tourist attractions. What places would you personally recommend foreign tourists visit when travelling to your country?

A.: First of all, it has to be our Petra, because it’s more than just a wonder. Renowned for its charm and ancient cultural heritage, Petra marks the achievement of an impressive civilization – the Nabataean Arabs – who perfectly carved the city into its mountains. It is definitely a must-see!

Q.: Have you had an opportunity to experience Baku and Azerbaijan? What is your brightest impression here? What did you like the most?

A.: Yes, I stayed for a month last year, when Sami (Ed. note: Ambassador, Sami Asem Ghosheh) first arrived to Baku as an Ambassador. I was lucky to join him in presenting his credentials to H.E. President, Ilham Aliyev. It was such an honor and the most memorable moment during my stay. I was very impressed with Baku’s architectural civilization, the buildings seem to represent the country’s fast growth and prosperity; it is characterized by a wide variety of styles, and I love that diversity. I liked Fountain Square and the Old City and I would definitely like to visit them again. However, what I liked the most were the people, as we seem to share a lot of similarities. Family bonds are very important to both nations. Azerbaijani people are so kind and open-hearted and I felt the warmth and hospitality during my brief stay. I intend to stay longer the next time I visit. 

Q.: Finally, our signature question to conclude the interview. It is said that behind every successful man there is a woman. How does that manifest itself in your life?

A.: I might add one word to that saying: “Behind every successful man there is a STRONG woman.” If a woman is strong enough, she can be more supportive and sometimes be a better fighter, giving more to her partner! On the other hand, being successful isn’t enough; maintaining the success is what counts, for either men or women. All people need is continuous backup from their loved ones.