Every step Dr Amal Mudallali has taken on her career path has been made with the aim of serving public interest.
And, as the first female UN ambassador from Lebanon, she is making history with each foot forward.
Mudallali was first appointed permanent representative of Lebanon to the United Nations in 2017. However, she still identifies as a journalist at heart, which was her professional dream while growing up.
She previously worked as a correspondent for Arabic and English language broadcasters and publications, as well as a foreign policy adviser to the late prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
“I love to share knowledge, tell stories and have a connection with people,” she tells The National. “It’s all about serving people, because the more they know, the more informed they are and the better decisions they make.”
This ideology paves the way for a better and more democratic society which, according to Mudallali, embodies the value of giving back.
The diplomat reveals she frequently takes inspiration from Ramadan, one of her favourite times of year. She recalls spending time at her grandparents’ home as a child, where the family gathered around the table for iftar every night.
“It was magic,” she says. “To me, Ramadan means goodness, sharing and caring about others. It’s about remembering what is important in life and being good to others.”
While the spiritual sentiment of Ramadan persists, the holy month is different in Lebanon this year. Due to Covid-19, gatherings have been limited to small family get-togethers and virtual meet-ups.
“Isolation is more the norm than getting together this Ramadan, which is the opposite of what the month is all about,” Mudallali says.
But that’s not all that has changed in Lebanon. The country is reeling under the impact of mounting crises which have pushed more than 50 per cent of the population into poverty.
Consequently, Mudallali’s job at the UN shifted from pioneering global change to rallying for international support for her struggling country.
“It’s not an easy situation,” she says. “You go to represent a country that was doing well, you wanted to have a legacy, make Lebanon prominent. You turn to appealing for help because of how difficult our lives have become. It’s not the positive contribution I wanted us to have.”