Oct 25, 2013, 1:09 PM
The weekly column profiles prominent personalities who are role models, and who are inspiring mentors of the future generations, both male and female.
In this edition, we bring you the profile of an inspirational lady who motivates women and girls with the confidence of what can be achieved through commitment, dedication and hard work.
She is Laura Mayoral, the current Spanish Chargee d’ Affaires in The Gambia.
Ms Mayoral was born in Sabadell (Barcelona) on 20 June 1982. She obtained her university degree in political science at the Universidad Autonoma of Barcelona (UAB).
She got a Master’s degree on international relations at the Ortega Gasset Institute, in Madrid.
At the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid, she had worked from 2010 to 2012 at the Cabinet of the Secretary of State for the European Union, and from 2012 to 2014 at the Spokesperson’s Office.
In this edition, the Spanish Charge d’ Affaires in The Gambia gives us inspirational views and shares with us her past, and the way forward in personal and diplomatic ties.
She is of the belief that every person should have the right to transform, and to study to get a better personal life and the basic things of the society such as education and health, which she regards as the two pillars of the society.
She serves as a role model to women, particularly girls with the belief that women can do much better and contribute immensely in national development.
In this discussion, she said: “My name is Laura Mayoral, the Spanish Chargee d’ Affaires in The Gambia.
“In Spain, to become a diplomat you have to pass several exams, which I passed.
“I sat for the exam and passed it in 2010. Then I was working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid. I also work at the cabinet of the secretary of the state for the European Union for three years, and I also worked at the press office of the minister for two years.
“I was lucky to work in an embassy. I had not many options; my option was The Gambia. I came to The Gambia in August 2014.
Q: Why did you choose The Gambia?
A: I don’t know!I had three options I could choose from, that was, three countries, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau or The Gambia and, finally, I chose The Gambia becauseit’s a stable and quietcountry, and because of its weather.
It is also confortable for me in The Gambia, because I have a direct flight to Barcelona. It was a good option, because I can travel to my country comfortably.
Q: After being in The Gambia for over a year now, how would you describe your service role?
A:I am the only diplomat working here. I also have a colleague from the Ministry of Interior from Spain, so it’s a small embassy. One of the significant aspects I do is to follow the political issues in The Gambia, attending meetings with ministers here in The Gambia, either bilateral or for the European Union. Also following the news as well, giving advice to the Spanish people living in The Gambia and also to Gambians living in Spain, whenever they need help or advise, a visa, residence card among other documents.
Q: Approximately how many Gambians are living in Spain?
A: Around 50, 000 Gambians are living in Spain, and they do sometimes come here when they need documents, or if they want to legalise things. The major part of the consular work is in Dakar, Senegal; but I can give some orientation here.
Q: What about Gambia-Spain relations?
A: The relationship of the two countries is very good, mainly in the relations regarding the fight against illegal migration. The embassy was opened in 2009, and I can tell you the cooperation between the two states is very good, and the support from the Gambia government has been very good.
Q: What are some of your objectives?
A:One of my main objectives is to assist people who are not only living in Spain, but also Spanish living in The Gambia, and also to facilitate the bilateral relations of the two governments and to facilitate the coordination between the two countries.
Q: What are some of your experiences?
A: I am learning a lot in The Gambia, and this is my first foreign diplomatic post. My previous posts at the ministry and at the cabinet have been very useful.
Q: Do you believe in the philosophy that what a man can do a woman can do?
A: Oh yes! Women have potentials in society. Women do have sensitive feelings and, sometimes, I can say they are smart and they do go straight to the point.
Q: What are some of the achievements you have registered?
A: It has been very positive, that this year, if it’s approved, that 33 million Euros would be allocated to The Gambia for the first tranche of the National Indicative Programme of the European Development Fund in the area of agriculture and infrastructure. I believe it is a great achievement.
Q: What is your advice as a role model to women, particularly girls?
A: The main advice is that girls have to study very hard. They are very important and partners in any development sector of the society. They have to be very focused on the way they want to be. Once they study, they have to do their best to maintain these goals.
Q: What are your future plans as far as Spain-Gambia relations are concerned?
A: My future plans are to continue to nurture the good relations of The Gambia and Spain and to increase the amount of cooperation. Unfortunately, due to the economic restrictions in 2012, The Gambia was not included in the master plan of cooperation in Spain; but The Gambia receives funds from Spain, through multilateral channels, such as the UN and ECOWAS.
I like the way of life and the kindness of the Gambians, because it is much quiet and I do have my time to do my hobbies.
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