Wednesday July 06, 2022

The ‘Great Dean’ will always be remembered

February 05, 2016

The Dean of Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Argentina, His Excellency Rodolfo Martin Saravia has lived in Pakistan for 12 years and is the recipient of the Hilal-e-Pakistan award from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Indeed, as His Excellency often says himself, he is ‘Half-Pakistani’. From my personal observation of his actions and comments I know that he is a true friend and well-wisher of Pakistan. These reasons, amongst other, ensure that he will be remembered fondly by members of the diplomatic community and Pakistanis equally.

His Excellency Rodolfo Martin Saravia is an extremely sociable person with a charming and charismatic personality. He has developed and maintained extremely close personal and professional ties with diplomats of all countries and leaders and senior officials of Pakistan at various levels. He has therefore been the ideal person to be a channel between the government and the diplomatic community in Pakistan, a role in which he has excelled beyond par. Whenever diplomats in Pakistan have any concerns we know we can rely on the Dean to welcome us, suggest a solution and then help us to resolve the issue.

The depth of his experience became clear to me even before I presented my credentials in August 2013, when I heard his advice that the national flag should not be displayed on the ambassador’s vehicle before the ambassador has presented his credentials. I will forever hold his guidance, experience and professionalism in the highest esteem.

On a more private note, I feel privileged and honoured to say Rodolfo is my close, personal friend. He served as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Argentina in Seoul, Korea, from 1983 to 1986 and also held the position of Consular in Charge of Asean & Korea at Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1987 to 1989. He knows Korea well and has a good understanding of Korean affairs in every sphere. Therefore, it is no surprise that we quickly developed a strong friendship which I value greatly.

I am glad that Pakistan provided me the opportunity to meet His Excellency Rodolfo Martin Saravia. It has always been a pleasure to be in his company, whether in an official meeting, at an embassy reception or on the golf course. He is a model diplomat and a wonderful human being. I know that I speak not only for myself, but for the entire diplomatic community and many Pakistani friends, when I say that he will be dearly missed. I wish him happiness, health and success for his future.

Apart from His Excellency Rodolfo Martin Saravia, four other envoys will be leaving Pakistan soon. They include the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, His Excellency Suhrab Hossain, the Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency Hiroshi Inomata, the Ambassador of Sweden, His Excellency Tomas Rosander and the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, His Excellency Philip Barton. I am sure that all five will continue to support Pakistan wherever they are stationed in the future, as they have done during their tenures here. Pakistan, and the diplomatic community of Islamabad, will miss these five fine gentlemen, but continue to benefit from their sincere friendship.

Time is like an arrow. Already two and a half years have passed since I arrived in Islamabad. Someday it will be my turn to depart from this beautiful country. Till then I will do my best to strengthen Pak-Korea relations. And yet, I can only wonder if I would ever earn the adoration that is bestowed upon His Excellency Rodolfo Martin Saravia and other ambassadors.

The author is the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Pakistan.