YPFP Global: Leaders in the Spotlight

Posted on February 26, 2013

“Foreign policy now is much more interesting than it was for my father or my mother,” says James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy at NATO. “It’s become much more diverse, much more fluid. During the Cold War it was like Sumo wrestling, now it’s more like fencing, but fencing with five people at the same time.”

Speaking during his interview for YPFP TV’s ‘Leaders in the Spotlight’ filmed on Tuesday 26 February, Appathurai offered his advice to future foreign policy leaders facing the challenges of the 21st century.

“You have to be looking in every direction at the same time,” he explained. “We are now able to engage in areas of the world which didn’t get the attention that they used to, so it’s a very interesting time to be in foreign policy.”

Broad experiences

After a 15-year long career at NATO, which includes working as a speechwriter, and Spokesperson during the majority of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, Appathurai also advised young professionals to diversify their experience early on.

“Don’t specialize if you can avoid it too early. Try many things, in the broad field of foreign policy. By the time you get to be a bit older, these experiences will open up many more jobs for you,” he adds.

“Whether we like it or not, internships, and short term positions in ministries or organisations, have clearly paid off for a lot of people,” he says, adding, “So go out there, try different things, go to different parts of the world and experiment, it really pays off.”

Launching YPFP TV

James Appathurai is the first interviewee in a new monthly series called ‘Leaders in the Spotlight’ filmed in partnership with NATO Public Diplomacy Division for YPFP TV.

Each month YPFP members’ all over the world will be asked to pitch questions to a foreign policy leader who will film their answers in a monthly broadcast for YPFP.