'Wedding Planners', By Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador To Hungary

  • 17 Oct 2012 9:00 AM
'Wedding Planners', By Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador To Hungary
British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, visited Budapest on 4 October. He was here for a short time – just 5 working hours. But he was able in that time to open the Budapest Cyber Conference, have meetings with PM Orban and Foreign Minister Martonyi, and do a TV interview and a press conference. An impressive pace. And the trip went very smoothly.

But of course behind every successful visit there are many hours of preparation. It’s a bit like organising a wedding: time spent on meticulous preparation means the event goes well and you get the results you want. In this case the Embassy team had put those hours of preparation in the weeks before the visit. We’d had to arrange the programme, then re-arrange it as the Conference schedule and the Minister’s meetings shifted about.

There were agreements to be made about who was going with the Minister to what meeting and what the agendas should be. There were the transport logistics around getting everyone to the right place at the right time. The media events needed to be well prepared – the right people invited and the venues right too.

The Minister’s support team needed the right facilities – whenever and wherever he travels he must be able to receive and send messages so he travels with a sophisticated communications set up. And then we had to make sure the Minister was up to date on all the topics which would come up during his trip. Finally we needed to sort out sandwiches for our visitors because there wasn’t time for a lunch-break!

The team worked really hard and delivered a faultless programme, working closely with the excellent Hungarian team who hosted us. The Minister’s Private Secretary said the trip had been a model: one he hoped would be replicated elsewhere. The team and I were very proud to hear that.

There was real satisfaction in knowing the Foreign Secretary had achieved so much in so little time. And that everything had gone to plan. On the day he left we felt a little like the guests at a wedding reception after the bride and groom have left – happy but a little tired.

Source: British Embassy Budapest

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