by Nour Fadol
Anyone who thinks that bureaucrats and government officials are boring and don’t know how to have a good time should have attending the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development’s gala Soiree: “The Art of Giving- L’Art de Donner”. From the wonderful venue, to the impeccably dressed guests, to the live music, swing dancers and flappers on stilts, the night was one of classy elegance and mingling. Our evening began with the jittery excitement and mutual admiration that often comes when we get an opportunity to put on our party dresses, suit vests and bow ties but it soon became filled with many introductions and the making of new friends and acquaintances.
Taking a step back, the soiree also had extra significance this year, given the recent merger of former CIDA and DFAIT, and this was made extra evident when a speech was given not only by Paul Rochon, Deputy Minister of International Development, but also by the new Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daniel Jean. It was nice to see the stress and tension of amalgamation be set aside for the night and see both sides come together to support a great cause – the gala was raising funds for the Government of Canada Charitable Workplace Campaign, so proceeds are heading to the United Way.
With attendance surpassing 1050 guests, NPSIAns definitely showed up and represented. At one point, a co-worker of mine asked, “are there many people from your program here?” and with a laugh and a gesture to my left, my response was “basically as far as the eye can see in that direction.” I literally couldn’t turn in any direction without seeing a NPSIAn. Many of us attended as co-op students within the department, and it was great to be able to hang out with our colleagues in such a different environment. But that aside, it was wonderful to be able to just kick back and have a great time with classmates and friends. I have to admit, I’m pretty disappointed that I never made it to the wall of popcorn that was set up on the side. That being said, I won’t lie, I could get used to having a career in a field with parties like this on the regular! With only one semester left in this program, this event will go down as one of the highlights of my experience. I know it’ll be a long time before I’ll forget the multiple toasts made with friends and the laughter and fun that characterized the night. Thank you to all who contributed to making it such an amazing night. Here’s looking forward to DFATD’s Soiree 2014!