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Trinidad Saona forming personal bridges at the 11th Lab in Berlin; Photo by: Marc Beckmann

On a Mission to build Partnerships

The forms and ways of traditional diplomacy have changed.

GDL members Trinidad Saona and Rong Yang, who is also a Zukunftsbrücke fellow, talk about the challenges and issues in an interview by the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt.   


“Governments no longer have a monopoly on setting the international agenda,” says Rong Yang and Trinidad Soana adds: “Too often, we see politicians brainstorming with other politicians and scientists brainstorming with other scientists.”

Technology and globalisation are changing the conditions for diplomacy. It is no longer just governments that act diplomatically, but societies themselves, people who exchange ideas and cooperate on the same issues across borders. GDL member Trinidad Saona gives the example of water scarcity: “I realised that water scarcity is a global issue that cannot be solved by any one government on its own. Expertise needs to be pooled globally. And that successful implementation of solutions no longer requires governments alone, but also actors such as NGOs, civil society, because they have direct, concrete expertise in many areas.”      

Diverse international groups can solve issues better, but also work on their own composition. In particular, gender balance is an important issue, according to Trinidad: “A problem that not only exists in Latin America is that the diplomatic service is dominated by males. In order to rise to the world’s challenges, we cannot afford not to tap into the brainpower of half the global population.”

Both interviewees see the importance of international and sustainable partnerships. Whether it is the coming together of Chinese and Germans, who work on better mutual understanding, or an international network such as the Gender Alliance, which works on gender equality worldwide. 

Read the entire interview here on the TwentyThirty blog. Find out more about GDL strategies to deal with cross-border and global challenges in the strategy "GDL 2025: Diplomacy 4.0".

Published on May 12, 2021.

About the authors

Trinidad Saona is a journalist and Chilean diplomat who continuously explores new methodologies and tools of diplomacy in order to achieve a new understanding of their practical use.

Rong Yang is a former Chinese diplomat, now working in the pharmaceutical industrial sector while also being active in various professional associations and providing advice for social enterprises and entrepreneurs interested in healthcare.

Further Articles

Strategic Foresight: In the Face of Uncertainty
GDL member Gaurav Sharma shares his experience of a two-part Strategic Foresight journey.
How can we make Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships faster?
GDL member Susanne Salz and Darian Stibbe of the Partnering Initiative explore what we can learn from multi-stakeholder partnerships that developed during the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to addressing another global threat: climate change.
Does Russia have the Potential for a Change in Climate Policy?
GDL member Angelina Davydova writes about Russia's current efforts to adapt to global shifts in climate policy.
Community-led Crisis Response - Lessons from the Pandemic
Coronavirus behind bars: GDL members Julia Jaroschewski and Sonja Peteranderl explored how incarcerated people worldwide are affected by Covid-19 and which tools and tactics are helping to alleviate the social, economic and health impact of the crisis.
First We Are, Then We Post
Through raising profound questions Cecilia analyses the challenges of communication for global communities such as the Global Diplomacy Lab.
Reflections on Inclusion
Read about Elizabeth Maloba's and Patrick Mpedzisi's perspectives on inclusion and what role it plays in the field of international politics and across cultures divides in this Q&A.

Trinidad Saona

Trini Saona is a journalist and has been a diplomat in the Chilean Foreign Service since 2010. She currently works in the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Between 2015 and 2017, she worked at the Alfredo Zolezzi Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up by Chilean innovator Alfredo Zolezzi, whose innovation model aims to connect advanced science and technology with emerging social and environmental challenges.

At the MFA, she has served at the Chilean Embassy in Mexico and, in Santiago, at the Directorate of Strategic Planning and the office of the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

In diplomacy, her main interest is in exploring new methodologies and tools in depth in order to achieve a new understanding of their practical use. She studied for an MBA at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile between 2017 and 2019, with the aim of identifying different frameworks of leadership and strategy applicable to diplomacy. 

She speaks Spanish, English and French, and her main hobby is photography.

......................................................................................................................................................

Learn more about Trinidad in her latest interview.

Rong Yang

Rong Yang is Vice President for Finance Business Partners and Strategy Americas at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in New Jersey.

Before working in industry, he was a diplomat and served as Chief Translator (German) for the President and the Prime Minister of China. Besides a short employment at McKinsey as a consultant, he has been working for the Bayer Group in various functions and countries including China, Germany, Austria, and the United States. Prior to his current role, he was Bayer Pharmaceutical's Country Group Head for Czech Republic and Slovakia, based in Prague. He was in charge of Bayer Pharmaceutical’s research and development, marketing and sales activities in both countries.

Rong is active in various professional associations and advises social enterprises and entrepreneurs interested in healthcare. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics as well as a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Trinidad Saona

Trini Saona is a journalist and has been a diplomat in the Chilean Foreign Service since 2010. She currently works in the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Between 2015 and 2017, she worked at the Alfredo Zolezzi Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up by Chilean innovator Alfredo Zolezzi, whose innovation model aims to connect advanced science and technology with emerging social and environmental challenges.

At the MFA, she has served at the Chilean Embassy in Mexico and, in Santiago, at the Directorate of Strategic Planning and the office of the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

In diplomacy, her main interest is in exploring new methodologies and tools in depth in order to achieve a new understanding of their practical use. She studied for an MBA at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile between 2017 and 2019, with the aim of identifying different frameworks of leadership and strategy applicable to diplomacy. 

She speaks Spanish, English and French, and her main hobby is photography.

......................................................................................................................................................

Learn more about Trinidad in her latest interview.

Rong Yang

Rong Yang is Vice President for Finance Business Partners and Strategy Americas at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in New Jersey.

Before working in industry, he was a diplomat and served as Chief Translator (German) for the President and the Prime Minister of China. Besides a short employment at McKinsey as a consultant, he has been working for the Bayer Group in various functions and countries including China, Germany, Austria, and the United States. Prior to his current role, he was Bayer Pharmaceutical's Country Group Head for Czech Republic and Slovakia, based in Prague. He was in charge of Bayer Pharmaceutical’s research and development, marketing and sales activities in both countries.

Rong is active in various professional associations and advises social enterprises and entrepreneurs interested in healthcare. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics as well as a MBA from Harvard Business School.

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