The Ambassador of Finland was one of the awardees when the Diplomatic Vista magazine hosted at the Sheraton hotel in Abuja on Tuesday 30 May 2017 for the first time in Nigeria the Annual Diplomat & Executive Night. The Ambassador of Finland, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury received the award for the 'Diplomat of the Year (Europe) 2017'.
The Ambassador of Finland was one of the awardees when the Diplomatic Vista magazine hosted at the Sheraton hotel in Abuja on Tuesday 30 May 2017 for the first time in Nigeria the Annual Diplomat & Executive Night. The event was designed "to recognize the achievements of outstanding Nigeria based diplomats who have contributed to improved diplomatic relations in the country, as well as executives who have been outstanding in the overall socio-economic development of Nigeria". According to the organizers, the award will improve relations with socio-economic development stakeholders in Nigeria, and send a positive message to various constituents on how diplomats and executives are actively improving civilian interest at international level.
At the event, the Ambassador of Finland, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury received the award for the 'Diplomat of the Year (Europe) 2017'. The Finnish Ambassador, who has been in Nigeria for three years, has been an active promoter of relations between Finland and Nigeria, particularly in the area of trade. According to Barrister Dotun Israel, publisher and CEO of the Diplomatic Vista magazine, the award is in recognition of her "enormous and outstanding contribution to the Nigerian diplomatic community and the progressive development of the Nigerian society at large". The Finnish Ambassador felt very honored and expressed her gratitude for receiving the recognition, which is only made more significant by the large number of European missions present in Nigeria, including twenty countries from the European Union.
The other diplomatic awardees were the High Commissioner of South Africa (Diplomat of the Year, Africa), the High Commissioner of Malaysia (Diplomat of the Year, Asia and Pacific), the High Commissioner of Jamaica (Female Diplomat of the Year), the Ambassador of Argentina (Diplomat of the Year, Americas and the Caribbean), the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Japan (Deputy Head of Mission of the Year), and the Country Representative of UNHCR (International Organization of the Year). Professor Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari received the Lifetime Diplomatic Service Award, and Ambassador Michel Arrion, Head of the EU Delegation, the Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award.
The keynote speaker at the event was Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as the Chairman & Founder of the Savannah Center for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, and the theme of the event was 'Building Bridges and Promoting Friendship Amongst Nations'. The awards were presented to the awardees by the Guest of Honor of the event, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the High Commissioner of Cameroon to Nigeria, Ambassador Abbas Ibrahim Salaheddine.