Saluting our Sisters: A Conversation with Patsy Moustache

This year, Black History Month is focused on the theme of Saluting Our Sisters, highlighting the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities. To celebrate these pioneering individuals in the Oxford Continuing Education community, we spoke to Patsy Moustache, who completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Diplomatic Studies in 2011. Patsy is currently Acting High Commissioner (Head of Mission) in the High Commission of the Republic of Seychelles in London. We spoke with her about her diplomatic responsibilities as Acting High Commissioner, as well as some of the highlights and challenges of her inspiring career in a field that has typically been dominated by men. 

Tell us about a typical day as Acting High Commissioner of Seychelles.

As the current Head of Mission, I oversee the day-to-day operations of the Seychelles High Commission. Apart from administrative responsibilities such as addressing budget matters, I also deal with bilateral and multilateral exchanges. Apart from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, the Seychelles High Commission also covers Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. This also means closer engagements with Honorary Consuls in these countries. The Commonwealth and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) also fall under the responsibility of the Seychelles High Commission in London. This means active exchanges with these countries and organisations, through meetings (including virtual), attending conferences/seminars, and also participating in social events. I also engage with a vast network of other partners, promoting the foreign policy of Seychelles and identifying different opportunities that could be beneficial for my country. I also engage with the Seychelles diaspora, providing guidance and consular support on different issues.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There have been many great moments in my career and some of these I consider as major highlights are:

  •  Accompanying the newly elected President of Seychelles, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan, on his first overseas State Visit, which was the first time I was a member of a delegation for a State Visit.

  • Being part of the preparation for the participation of the Seychelles Head of State in the Coronation of King Charles III.

  • My first posting abroad as a diplomat to India, an amazing country which really enhanced my diplomatic skills, networks and knowledge across different sectors.

  • Being posted to London, another great opportunity to further the Seychelles foreign policy and to promote my country.

What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Like any field, there are ups and downs, but for me, challenges are what make a person more resilient and determined. Moving beyond your comfort zone is key to becoming a well-rounded professional. If I have to consider a challenge, it will have to be related to the fact that I do come from a Small Island Developing States and at times our voices are lost, because of our size especially when addressing threats to our livelihoods like the climate crisis and environmental degradation.

Can you tell us about the recent rise of female Seychelles diplomats and why this is significant?

Seychelles is regarded as a matriarchal society and women play crucial roles in the socio-economic development and wellbeing of our country. In diplomacy, it is no exception. The presence of many women diplomats in our foreign service is inspiring and, even more important to note, we do not have a quota system. This means that professionals are considered on merit and capacity to deliver to the expectations.

In Seychelles, women diplomats are recognised for their capacity, dedication, commitment and passion to not only defend but to promote the foreign policy of their country. It is significant not just in Seychelles but also globally, to have representation of women in all aspects of the society and for their roles and contribution to be recognised.

Knowing what you know today, what words of advice would you give your past self before beginning your diplomatic career?

The advice would remain the same. Passion, dedication, commitment, hard work, humility and loyalty, are keys that open doors to success, job satisfaction, resilience and progress.

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Published 24 October 2023