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This is a coming together of highly accomplished professionals who happen to be women. These are individuals who represent their governments and nations to the rest of the world. Consequently, this offers scope for a rich discussion on navigating various cultural, political, economic forks and bends.
Our panel of truly exceptional women addresses the power and prestige that comes with working in the foreign service. What are their hardest assignments? How do they deal with cultures that are resistant to change with respect to dealing with women at the negotiating table? This wide-ranging panel discussion will examine the nuances of being women on top of their game.
Latha Reddy is the former Deputy National Security Adviser of India where she was responsible for cybersecurity and other critical internal and external security issues. She also served as a Commissioner on the Global Commission on Internet Governance.
Ms. Reddy served in the Indian Foreign Service from 1975-2011. During her diplomatic career she served in Lisbon, Washington D.C., Kathmandu, Brasilia, Durban, Vienna and Bangkok. She served as Ambassador of India to Portugal (2004-2006) and to Thailand (2007-2009). She was Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi (2010-2011) with overall charge of India’s bilateral and regional relations with Asia. She was then appointed as India’s Deputy National Security Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2011-2013.
Ms. Reddy has extensive experience in foreign policy, and in bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations. In addition, she has expertise on security and strategic issues and has worked on strategic technology policies, particularly on cyber issues relating to cyber security policy, international cyber cooperation and Internet governance.
Ms. Reddy is involved with several organizations and think-tanks, both globally and in India. She is currently, among other positions, serving as a Distinguished Fellow in the EastWest Institute in the US and the Observer Research Foundation in India.
Nicole Girard was named Consul General of Canada to Bengaluru in October 2018. Nicole has over 10 years executive leadership experience in the Canadian government overseeing significant policy reform and managing major overseas Canadian migration operations.
A graduate with a BA in Law from Carleton University, she began her career in the Canadian government in 1989 when she joined the Department of Employment and Immigration and where she held various assignments in Ottawa related to immigration enforcement, strategic policy and refugee policy. In her most recent headquarters position, she was Director General of Citizenship and Multiculturalism policy.
She served in Beijing from 2015 to 2018 as Migration Program Manager and Area Director for North Asia and Oceania, with oversight of Canadian migration programs in eight offices, including those in China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Nicole is the recipient of 10 Canadian public service awards including a Deputy Minister’s award for her leadership on comprehensive reform of Citizenship legislation. Early in her career, Nicole co-founded a successful small business.
Nicole speaks English, French and Italian. She is married, and is the parent of one child who is a university student.
Ms. Dana Kursh is the Consul General of Israel to South India since August 2017, after serving two years as Deputy Ambassador of Israel to India in New-Delhi.
Ms. Kursh has vast experience as a diplomat in the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Amongst her managerial positions in Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Policy Advisor to the Director General and Director of the department for training of the next generation of diplomats. Her first diplomatic assignment abroad was at the USA.
For the first years of her professional life, Ms. Kursh had the privilege of working in Israel’s cutting edge hi-tech industry. Later on, she chose also to take part in Israel’s flourishing NGO’s ecosystem as a General Manager of a non-profit organization (JVP Community) aiming at transforming Israel’s Capital, Jerusalem, via education & culture.
During her military career, she achieved the rank of a Captain at the Israeli Defense forces (IDF).
Ms. Kursh holds a BA and MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (MA in Public Policy – Executive program).
Ms. Kursh was born and raised in a farmer family in a village called “Moshav Meravia”, located in the north of Israel.
Born in 1978 in the South of France (Marseille), Mrs. Marjorie Vanbaelinghem is an alumna of both the Ecole Normale Supérieure (1998-2003), a reputed Humanities school, and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (2010-2012), the French State’s public management school. The latter school’s curriculum included Economy and public Law and professional experiences such as internships at the French Embassy in Tokyo, at the French aeronautical firm Safran as well as in the local French administration. She had also previously completed a PhD in History, Culture and Literature of the English- speaking world (focusing on British modern and contemporary art) as well as studied as an exchange student at The University of Berkeley, California.
Mrs. Vanbaelinghem started her career in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2009 as desk officer for arms control and OSCE military dimension in the strategic affairs directorate, and then took charge of the dossier of military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. She then moved on to become Head of the Business Support and Innovation Office, in the Global Economy and Business Directorate.
As far as embassy positions are concerned, Mrs. Vanbaelinghem has held the position of First Secretary, in charge of defense affairs, at the French Embassy in London, on a short-term support mission, in 2012. She was then appointed as Second Counsellor, political advisor, in charge of EU and defense affairs at the French embassy in Madrid, Spain (2015 to 2017), and then became the Head of the Press and Communication office at the same institution (2017-19).
Since 1st September 2019, Mrs. Marjorie Vanbaelinghem is Consul General of France in Bangalore (with a consular jurisdiction over the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana).
She is multilinguistic – fluent in English and Spanish and proficient in Italian and Japanese.
Marjorie Vanbaelinghem is married and has a son.
Since July 2019, Consul General & Head of Innovation and Trade Centre of Denmark in Bangalore, Mrs. Bjerrum holds a BA from Copenhagen Business School, Graduate Diploma from University of Aalborg, MBA from Henley Management College and is certified board member focusing mainly on Small Medium Sized Enterprises. Besides this she has attended numerous industry courses mainly within tech driven Life Science innovation, small scale GMP production and project management.
Prior to joining the Foreign Ministry of Denmark summer of 2019, she served +25 years in Life Science and Renewable Energy sector, in and outside Denmark, in various managerial positions. She has lived and worked out of Athens, Caracas and Curitiba in Brazil, and covered global sales positions head quartered out of Denmark.
Besides her corporate career, she has served 10 years within innovation and entrepreneurship, among others as co-founder of a Life Science driven oncology driven start-up and CEO of +3 deep tech spin outs. Mrs. Bjerrum is still active as NGO board member and active business angle in the Danish Business Angle network, DanBAN.
Specifically in regards to the matters of modern leadership models and building sustainable strategies, Mrs. Bjerrum has had a long term engagement as speaker and societal active citizenship, when not at work; focusing on topics such as gender driven strategy models and equal rights.
Mrs. Bjerrum is the proud mother of two adults sons aged 23 and 25; both studying in Denmark.
Shoba Narayan is the author of four books and a columnist with Hindustan Times Brunch magazine. She writes about food, travel, fashion, art and culture for many national and international publications. She is the overseas correspondent for Radio New Zealand. She has taught at IIM-Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Science. Besides writing, she watches birds, quaffs wine, and enjoys gadgets. Her lifelong mission is to get fit without exercising and lose weight without dieting.