She’s a permanent diplomat and First Secretary of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations, and being a woman doesn’t make the job any easier, but this is a challenge that Estela Mercedes Mansogo relishes, as she is resolved to making an impact; First as an “African”, “A Woman”, and “Equatoguinean” at the Summit of Global Diplomacy.
Dreams Talks couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak with Miss Mansogo, in which she shed light on her challenges and goals for the future.
Dreams Talks: What inspired you to take this career path ?
Estela Mercedes Mansogo: It wasn’t easy to make this decision considering that, at that time, I was the director of a large law firm in Africa.
I knew that I had no experience in international affairs and diplomacy, and I didn’t speak English perfectly either, but the idea of working in the Permanent Mission of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations was a unique and attractive challenge, honestly.
Being aware of all the challenges the world is facing today, especially in Africa, I found it interesting to hear and participate in the discussions of the current global challenges, their root causes, the envisaged solutions, and the different positions of both developed and developing countries regarding these challenges.
On the other hand, I thought that would be a great opportunity to contribute to the image of my country, starting by getting people to know the geographical location of Equatorial Guinea on the map of Africa because many people, including Africans, don’t know where Equatorial Guinea is located.
Dreams Talks: As a permanent Diplomat of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations what are your core functions, what are the duties of First Secretary to the UN?
Estela Mercedes Mansogo: Equatorial Guinea’s priority is to promote a strong and legitimate multilateral organization that can fulfill its purposes and objectives. Therefore, we try to ensure that the organization has full observance and respect for the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Likewise, we ensure the peaceful resolution of conflicts, the promotion of cooperation between the UN and regional organizations, the inclusion of women, non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, the promotion and protection of human rights, etc.
As the first secretary, I am executing the tasks assigned by the Permanent Representative. I’m particularly in charge of the Sixth Committee of the United Nations, which is the Committee on Legal Affairs; the Ocean and the Law of the Sea matters; the Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations Commission of Trade Law, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes and some specific items of the General Assembly agenda. This mandate is carried out through attending meetings and conferences organized by the U.N. or any member state; negotiating resolutions or conventions within the framework of the UN with all the Member States; preparing statements, and preparing reports for my PR, but also to the Capital with legal opinions and recommendations if is pertinent. However, these mandates can be also expanded depending on different factors, such as being part of a working group or a commission, or maybe for being elected as a member of one of the United Nations bodies as it had happened recently to Equatorial Guinea when we have elected as a member of the Economic and Social Council for the next two years.
Dreams Talks: As an Equatorial Guinean woman, as an African woman, what does this position mean for you ?
Estela Mercedes Mansogo: Well, this position really means a lot to me and I consider myself lucky and blessed to be here right now. I will always be grateful to my government and the Head of State for this unique opportunity.
While executing my duties, with the diligence of a good professional, I must set an example for others, especially young women. I have the possibility to inspire the youngest, to transmit confidence but also let them see, through my work, that we can achieve our dreams with discipline and consistency, we can play a significant role and sit at the table where the biggest challenges in the world are discussed and negotiate one on one without feeling inferior for been black African woman or for being from Equatorial Guinea.
Building on the growing momentum of the need for gender equality and women’s empowerment, I feel compelled to step up to show that I and other young women can be elected to these duties. Being here is an invaluable opportunity to show those who believe in us
Dreams Talks: With your current position, how are you helping to improve the perception of Equatorial Guineans on the global stage ?
Estela Mercedes Mansogo: Like other diplomats, in the exercise of my duties, I try to defend, safeguard, and promote the interests of my country before this organization, always within the framework of the established foreign policy lines. How? During the committee, plenary meetings, or negotiations, I convey the views, and position of the government of my country on the issues under debate.
Likewise, I follow up on current global challenges being discussed at the UN and submit reports with legal recommendations, with the aim of keeping the capital informed at all times of any relevant updates on these issues.
Dreams Talks: What are the challenges you face in your current role and how are you responding to these challenges ?
Estela Mercedes Mansogo: The biggest challenge is to have small missions, like ours, with few personnel, because we cannot cover all the issues that are discussed at the United Nations, which leads us to concentrate on the issues the government thinks are top priorities to our country.
Dreams Talks: 20 years from now what do you expect the name “Chestel Mansogo” to mean to the next generation of Equatorial Guineans that aspire to be Diplomats ?
Estela Mercedes Mansogo: I would like my name to be associated with a resilient, hardworking woman, but above all, with values such as respect, responsibility, solidarity, and empathy. A woman who successfully fulfilled her mandate, achieving some important milestones for Equatorial Guinea in the international and national fields.
For me, it’s important to transfer all the knowledge and experience obtained during my diplomatic career to the future generation, enabling them to achieve even greater results. I believe that the greatest contribution that I can make to my country is to help the next generation to be better prepared.