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Maleeha awarded “Ambassador of the year" award

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2002 (NNI): In recognition of her meritorious services rendered during her tenure as Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, an award “Ambassador of the Year” was conferred on Ms. Lodhi at  an elegant ceremony.
The ceremony was organized by Women Ambassador Foundation. A large number of diplomats, officials, academics, Congressional staffers and prominent Pakistanis attended the ceremony.
Former Assistant Secretary of state, Robin Raphel, currently president of National Defence University, while giving the prestigious award described Dr. Lodhi
as an outstanding diplomat, a professional, a patriot who is a real asset to Pakistan in her role as a journalist and diplomat.
Former secretary of state, Madeleine K. Albright said Ambassador Lodhi had to face this year formidable challenges which she met with unparalleled skill and grace, thus refining the art of ‘shuttle diplomacy’.
In the post 9/11 period, as events unfolded and Pakistan joined forces with the United States in the war against terrorism, Ambassador Lodhi’s reassuring eloquent and convincing presence on our television screens reminded us of our common goals of peace and security at the global level.
Dr. Lodhi who will relinquish charge in July after an inspiring record of six in two terms here, spoke briefly reflected on her experiences as Pakistan’s envoy describing it as most interesting and also very rewarding period of her public career.
She has the satisfaction of having been part of a process of continuous consolidation of one of Pakistan's most critical bilateral relationships.
Past decade was the most testing for Pak-US relations after Pakistan became the most sanctioned friend of the United States from an earlier status of most allied ally. She said professionally sanctions remained much of preoccupation during her stay in Washington constantly arguing that they were a blunt and punitive instrument, entirely counter-productive.
In her first tour of duty, Pakistan fought hard the infamous, discriminatory, Pakistan-specific Pressler Amendment. The passage of the Brown Amendment which provided a temporary repreive was the outcome of shared labor of all fair-minded people in Congress,
the Clinton Administration, and the Pakistani-American community.
“ Today, we have -- in a very long time -- a relationship free of sanctions,” she said adding that Pakistan became a completely desanctioned country immediately after 9/11. It was due largely to the strategic choices made by President Musharraf at a critical juncture in our history. Both countries are now engaged in bringing about one of the most profound
transformations in this relationship.
Dr. Lodhi said the second most important challenge that she had to contend with, on the professional plane, is public perceptions and media depictions of her country and its policies. The objective there was two-fold: the need to fight intentional or unintentional is representations; and a positive struggle to capture the ‘ hearts and minds.'
The idea was to serve as a kind of a bridge to promote better mutual understanding. This has remained a constant endeavor, entailing close interaction with think-tankers, talks on campuses, sessions with editorial boards, background briefings to reporters, and not the least TV appearances.
She said, “The hard part of TV appearances was to cur our South Asian verbosity and come up with a sound-byte or two every time in order to make your case simply, coherently and succinctly to a viewing public, proverbially short on attention span.”
The new threats illustrated by 9/11 have transformed the traditional modes of thinking about national security and foreign policy. This imposes enormous challenges for us in our roles as diplomats, both in private and public realms.
You have to be unconventional and unorthodox, both in thinking and operative strategy. A traditional approach would only take us this far, especially in these testing times in this atypical capital in the world, she added.
The President of the Women Ambassadors Foundation lauded the services rendered by Dr. Lodhi as her country’s envoy and towards bolstering women’s role in diplomatic spheres. She quoted Senator Hank Brown that Ms. Lodhi “ is an absolute dynamo… They could not have picked anyone with more energy and brighter mind. I am convinced much of the improvements between the two countries, the United States and Pakistan is because of her incredible energy level…”
She said Dr. Lodhi has been able to not merely face the rapidly unfolding events, she has shown a superb, elegant and convincing way of conducting diplomacy, always reminding American audiences and the world of the concept of sovereignty of nations and the necessity for multilateral approaches to tackle problems as difficult as terrorism and warfare.

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