“In my work, I often travel to conflict-affected territories, which gives me the opportunity to experience the reality of my work. Experiencing many unique situations through my travels, there is one particular visit I will never forget. I traveled to a territory where local families were strictly divided by a barb-wired fence and guarded by heavily armed soldiers. Their children were deprived of access to education, medical services and even something as simple as a place to play.
There was a playground nearby, situated on one side of the fence, in very bad and unsafe shape. Seeing its condition, we helped to renovate the playground. Soldiers guarding the fence allowed the kids to play there only once a week for a limited period of time. Sadly, that was the only time when kids from “one side” of the fence could meet and play with the “other side” kids. After I spoke with these kids and heard their brave stories, I instantly realized a different perspective of their situation and was deeply touched by the children’s gratefulness in meeting their friends even for such a brief time.
At the end of my visit, I asked these same kids to draw what the term “human rights” meant to them. They took markers, pens, and pencils and drew pictures that were breath-taking. They were hopeful and not sad, and taught me the power to imagine better. I brought one picture back home with me and hung it in a hallway at my home. It stands as a daily reminder to use my professional experience on behalf of those who are denied their human rights. It gives me the strength and commitment to carry on with what, as a diplomat, I am so passionate about: to push forward the seemingly immovable and help all those who hope for something better. It helps me to never stop looking for solutions and upholding values on which the OSCE is built.”
Ambassador Algayerovà is the Permanent Representative to the Mission of the Slovak Republic to the International Organizations in Vienna