Empowering Delegates on Women’s Leadership in Negotiations
Linda Scott is the Deputy Ambassador for Namibia and she represents her country in the United Nations. Mrs. Scott has a deep interest in conflict resolution and negotiations, and it was this interest which motivated her to attend several UNITAR workshops.
“The first UNITAR workshop I attended was in 2008 and it was one of the highlights of my diplomatic career. It was a two-week negotiation skills programme that took place outside Oslo in Norway,” she explains. “It was phenomenal. We were a fantastic group of people, with diplomats from different missions and people from the United Nations Secretariat. It was my first real contact with the UN Secretariat. I made friends there that I am still in contact with today. The information we received and the exercises we took part in opened my mind and taught me a lot. The course was based on the political situation at that time in Afghanistan. I learned so much about how the different groups were operating, how they interacted with each other, and so forth. I met experts on conflict resolution from Ghana and Afghanistan. It was a fascinating experience.”
Since that first UNITAR training, Mrs. Scott has taken part in three subsequent UNITAR workshops in New York – one on women and leadership, and two on documentation and learning skills. The most recent of these workshops was last year in New York. The subject matter was women’s leadership in negotiations. “Namibia initiated the UN security conflict resolution on women police and security when we were on security council in 2000,” explains Mrs. Scott.
“It was a very important resolution because we focused on the need for women leaders in negotiations. So, this UNITAR course was a continuation for me in this area.”
Mrs. Scott found the workshop’s practical exercises to be particularly beneficial. She describes one of the negotiation simulations: “It was an interesting situation, and also a first for me. I was the chief negotiator in my group. I am a Christian, but in the exercise, I had to represent the position of a Muslim woman. I had to literally put myself in the shoes of a woman of a different culture and negotiate from that point of view. I had to double-check everything that I was thinking or that I wanted to say, to see if I was being culturally sensitive in the way that I represented the group. I learned a lot and I was even elected best negotiator by the class!”
Today, Mrs. Scott uses the skills and awareness she developed in these trainings in her professional and personal life.
“The trainings had a very powerful effect on me. They have given me an increased sense of confidence. The friendships that I made were incredible, and the amount of knowledge I gained was phenomenal.”