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Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Ambassadors to the Holy See

At 10:00am local time this morning, in the Sala Clementina at the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the Ambassadors from the Seychelles, Thailand, Estonia, Malawi, Zambia and Namibia on the occasion of the presentation of their Credential letters.

The Holy See enjoys diplomatic relations with 180 sovereign states as well as apostolic delegates in various other countries.


Address of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
to newly-arrived ambassadors

Your Excellencies,

I am pleased to receive you on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters by which you are accredited as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of your countries to the Holy See: Estonia, Malawi, Namibia, the Seychelles, Thailand and Zambia. I thank you for the greetings you conveyed to me on behalf of your respective Heads of State and, in return, I would ask you to assure them of my prayers and best wishes. I ask God to grant peace and prosperity to all your fellow citizens.

Your presence here today is a poignant reminder that, though our nationalities, cultures and religious beliefs may be different, we are united by our common humanity and a shared mission to care for society and creation. This service has taken on a particular urgency, as so many in our world are suffering conflicts and war, forced migration and displacement, and the uncertainty born of economic hardship. These problems demand not only that we reflect upon them and discuss them, but that we also express concrete signs of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in grave need.

For this service of solidarity to be effective, our efforts must be directed to the pursuit of peace, wherein each individual’s natural rights and integral human development are nurtured and guaranteed. This task demands that we work together in an efficient and coordinated way, encouraging the members of our communities to become themselves artisans of peace, promoters of social justice and advocates of true respect for our common home. This is increasingly difficult, for our world appears ever more fragmented and indifferent. Many people isolate themselves from harsh realities. They are afraid of terrorism and of a growing influx of migrants fundamentally changing their culture, economic stability and way of life. These are fears which we understand and cannot dismiss lightly, yet they must be addressed in an intelligent and creative way, so that the rights and needs of all are respected and upheld.

For those suffering the tragedy of violence and forced migration, we must be resolute in making their plight known to the world community, so that as they lack the strength or ability to cry out, their voice may be heard in our own. The path of diplomacy helps us to both amplify and convey this cry by seeking solutions to the many underlying causes of the conflicts of our day. This applies especially in our efforts to remove weapons from those perpetrating violence, and to end the scourge of human trafficking and the drug trade which often support this evil.

While our initiatives on behalf of peace should help people to remain in their homelands, this present hour urges us to assist migrants and those caring for them. We must not allow misunderstanding and fear to weaken our resolve. Rather, we are called to build a culture of dialogue, one which enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to (Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize, 6 May 2016). In this way, we will promote an integration which respects the traditions of migrants and preserves the culture of the community receiving them, all the while enriching both. This is essential. If misunderstanding and fear prevail something of ourselves dies, our cultures, history and traditions are weakened, and our own peace is compromised. When on the other hand, we foster dialogue and solidarity, both individually and collectively, it is then that we experience the best of humanity and secure an enduring peace for all, as intended by our Creator.

Dear Ambassadors, before concluding these reflections, I would like to express, through you, my fraternal greeting to the Pastors and faithful of the Catholic communities present in your countries. I encourage them always to be heralds of hope and peace. I think especially of those Christian and minority communities suffering persecution for their beliefs; to them I renew my prayerful support and solidarity. For its part, the Holy See is honoured to be able to strengthen with each of you and with the countries you represent an open and respectful dialogue and a constructive collaboration. From this perspective, as your new mission is officially inaugurated, I express to you my best wishes, assuring you of the constant support of the various offices of the Roman Curia in carrying out your functions. Upon each of you, your families and your colleagues, I invoke abundant divine blessings.


His Excellency, Mister Thomas Selby Pillay
Ambassador of the Seychelles to the Holy See

Born on 7 March 1963.
After having completed studies at the Seychelles College, and subequently earned a Masters in Political Economics from the University of Berlin (1986-1991).
Has held the following positions: Functionary in the Department for Economic Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1991-1994); Second Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1994-1997); First Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998-2003); Director of the Division for International Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2003-2007); Director General of the Division for Multinational Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2007-2010); Director General of the Division for International Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2010-2011); Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Seychelles at the United Nations in New York (2011-2014); Ambassador to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (October 2014 ...).
Speaks Creole (mother tongue), English, French and German.


His Excellency, Mister Nopadol Gunavibool
Ambassador of Thailand to the Holy See

Born in 1956.
Holds a Bachelor's degree in Arts (University of Leeds, UK) and then obtained an MA degree (University of London, UK).
He held the following positions: Official at the Ministry of External Affairs, Division for East Asia, Department for Political Affairs (1982); Third Secretary, Division for East Asia, Department of Political Affairs (1983); Third Secretary, Division for Affairs relating to International Affairs, Department for International Organizations (1985); Third Secretary, Political Division, Department of International Organizations (1985); Second Secretary, Political Division, Department of International Organizations (1986); Second Secretary, Secretariat for the Department of Political Affairs (1987); First Secretary, Division for South-East Asia, Department of Political Affairs (1989); First Secretary, Second Division, Department of East Asia Affairs (1992); Counsellor at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand in Manila (1992);  Director, First Division, Department of East Asia Affairs (1995); Associate Director General, Department of ASEAN Affairs (2000); Minister at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand in Tokyo (2002); Ambassador attached to the Ministry, Office of the Permanent Secretary (2004); Director General, Department of East Asia Affairs (2004); Director General, Department of ASEAN Affairs (2006); Extraordinary Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of Thailand in Singapore (2007); Permanent Vice-secretary, Office of the Permanent Secretary (2011); Extraordinary Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of Thailand in the Kingdom of Belgium (2013).


His Excellency, Mister Väino Reinart
Ambassador of Estonia to the Holy See

Born on 28 December 1962.
Holds a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Physics (Kuressaare High School, Kuressaare, Estonia) and in Radiology (Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia), and then completed post-university studies in Physics (Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics, Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn, Estonia) and subsequently the International Course of Formation in Security Politics and Arms Control (Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland).
He has held the following positions: Engineer, Associate Researcher at the Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics, Estonian Academy of Sciences (1984); Executive Assistant to the Minister of Culture (1990); Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1992); Counsellor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Political Department (1993); Head of the Division for International Organization and for Political Security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1993);  Ambassador, Chief Negotiator for the Talks between Estonia and Russia (1994); Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1995); Permanent Representative at the OSCE in Vienna (1995); Director General of the Political Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1999); Associate Permanent Under-secretary for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2001-2002); Permanent Representative at the European Union in Brussels (2002-2007);  Ambassador in Washington (2007-2011); Under-secretary for Commerce and Developmental Cooperation (2011); Non-resident Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2011); Special Representative for Afgghanistan and Pakistan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011); Under-secretary for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2012); General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2015).
Other than his mother tongue (Estonian), he speaks English.


His Excellency, Mister Michael Barth Kamphambe Nkhoma
Ambassador of Malawi to the Holy See

Born on 26 August 1946.
He holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration (Institute of Public Administration, University of Malawi), and then attended the following brief courses: Government Administration for National Development (The Royal Institute of Public Administration, London, UK); Advanced Management Programme (Australian Administrative Staff College, Melbourne, Australia); Human Resource Management (Institute of Public Service International, University of Connecticut, USA); Management Development Programme (Irish Management Institute, Dublin, Ireland).
He has held the following positions: Executive Official at the Office of the President and the Cabinet (1971-1973); Administrative Official at the Ministry of Finance (1973-1976); High Administrative Official at the Ministry of Finance (1976-1978); Principal Administrative Official at the Ministry of Finance (1978-1981); Under-secretary of the Office of the President and the Cabinet (1981-1984); Associate Secretary of the Office of the President and the Cabinet (1984-1988); Principal Secretary of the Office of the President and the Cabinet (1988-1989); Auditor General of the National Audit Office (1989-1992); Principal Secretary of the Office of the President and the Cabinet (1992-1994); Associate Secretary of the President and the Cabinet (1995-2004); High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and the Kingdom of Lesotho (2004-2006).


His Excellency, Mister Muyeba Shichapwa Chikonde
Ambassador of Zambia to the Holy See

Born on 15 January 1964.
He holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture (University of Camaguey, Cuba, 1989), and then attended a Group Training and Postgraduate Course in Housing (Tokyo International Center, Tokyo, 1992) and a Group Training in Diplomatic Affairs and International Relations (Zambia Institute of Diplomatic and International Studies, Zambia, 2011).  In addition, he obtained a Masters degree in Architecture (Katolieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, 1999).
He has held the following positions:  Architect for the National Housing Authority, Lusaka (1989-1994); Building Research Manager for the National Housing Authority, Lusaka (1995); National Project Manager for the Low Cost Housing Project society (UNDP, UNCHS-Habitat; French Co-operation, 1995-1998); Central Projects Manager for the National Housing Authority, Lusaka (2001); Assistant Project Coordinator for the Zambia Education Project Implementation Unit (ZEPIU) OPEC Primary Schools Upgrading Project (OPSUP II), Zambia (2001-2003); Executive Director and Principal Consultant for Habiconsult, Zambia (2004-2011); High Commissioner of Zambia in South Africa (2012-2015); from 2015 to present, he has served as the High Commissioner of Zambia in London, England.


His Excellency, Mister Andreas B. D. Guibeb
Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia

Born on 23 January 1954.
He holds a Bachelors degree in Law (University of the Western Cape in Belleville, South Africa), and then pursued studies as a Development Economist and International Trade Law (Graduate Institute of International Relations and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland).
He has held the following positions: Research Assistant for the Director General of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), Geneva; Programme Director for the Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations (CASIN), Geneva;  Associate Representative of SWAPO, Paris; Director of SWAPO, Paris (1989); First Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs; High Commissioner for the Republic of Zambia; Consultor for various international organizations in Africa, Europe and the United States of America.
In addition to his mother tongue, he speaks English, French and German.
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