Written from a small state perspective, the book analyses the particular vulnerabilities faced by these countries and the potential they have for overcoming those challenges.
According to the author, small states can and do play an important role in international affairs ; with a strategic vision of the future, assertive diplomacy and inspired leadership, these states can be able to have a greater say in matters of concern and to compete in an increasingly complex and liberalized world.
He said that the book, which is dedicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, does not cover his entire diplomatic life but rather, is focused on the period when he held the Presidency of the UN General Assembly and Chairmanship of the Group of 77.
Insanally added that he was only able to pen his experiences as a diplomatic practitioner after his retirement in 2008.
Also addressing the gathering on Friday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett stated that the Ministry is very pleased to be associated with the launch of the book for many reasons but particularly because a lot of its contents is based on the former minister’s experience during his work for the Government of Guyana and in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She remarked that it is no doubt that this book will be of immense value and an asset for the serving and upcoming diplomats in Guyana and others as well.
“Ambassador Insanally mentioned in his book that he was more interested in the practice of diplomacy rather than the theory of diplomacy, and practice he did. Many have written on various international issues but few had the distinguished career and first hand experience as that of Ambassador Insanally which gives added credence to the contents of this book,” she asserted.
The minister stressed that it would be unfortunate if the experiences and lessons learnt from such a distinguished diplomatic career spanning over four decades go unwritten and hence not shared with others.
She said that for Guyana, as a small state relying on principles, and for other small states who share these principles, multilateral action was and still remains central to pursuing their goals for the greater good of the world.
She noted that the epicenter of multilateral diplomacy in the UN is very often on the receiving end of criticisms from both developed and developing countries, yet, she said, its mandate continues to be expanded on a regular basis.
“Many see the organisation as a place where the divisions between the rich and poor and the developed and developing world are demonstrated. But to think that the alternative to multilateral diplomacy is better especially for small states will be a very simplistic, if not ill conceived, proposition,” she stated.
According to Rodrigues-Birkett, Insanally gives the reader a better insight into the intricacies of multilateral diplomacy and its importance, the power play between big and small, rich and poor and yet, he recognizes that much more can be done.
Part of the proceeds from the book will be given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the development of young diplomats. Copies of the book were presented to the ministry, the National Library, the University of Guyana (UG) library and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.