Ambassador of Argentina H.E. Claudia Alejandra Zampieri
By Reaven D’Souza
Argentinian Ambassador H.E. Claudia Zampieri is composed and experienced diplomat who exudes confidence and charm in her dealings with people. Over the years she has endeared herself not only to the large diplomatic community but also to the locals with her positivity and affability.
In a recent interview with the Managing Editor of The Times Kuwait, Ambassador Zampieri underlined the existing robust bilateral relations between Argentina and Kuwait. She also highlighted the potential for her country to support food security in Kuwait, the possibilities for technology transfers in strategic fields, and the diverse array of tourism venues that could attract more tourists from Kuwait to Argentina.
Ambassador Zampieri began the interview by explaining what led her to choose a diplomatic career, and her experiences over the years in this field. “The feeling that a diplomatic career would satisfy my interest in discovering other cultures, traveling the world, and learning different languages grew as soon as I began my studies in political sciences at the university. So the process of becoming a career diplomat happened in a very smooth and natural way.
“Right after my graduation I succeeded in the extremely competitive exam to enter the Foreign Service Institute. On completion of my professional training at the Institute, I was appointed as Third Secretary and Consul. Throughout the many years of service to my country, I learned that diplomacy is something that you need to be passionate about, because it is challenging in many ways. It involves knowledge, adaptability and ingenuity.
“My first posting was in Frankfurt, Germany. Even though I had learned German in Buenos Aires, the challenge was to improve my knowledge of this fascinating language in order to properly communicate and better perform my duties. I have fantastic memories of those years attending courses at the Goethe Institute, where I met excellent teachers and classmates from all over the world.”
Elaborating on her appointment in Kuwait and experiences since taking charge as ambassador of her country, the Argentine envoy stated: “I always say that I have two lives in Kuwait. The first life was as the Deputy Head of Mission at the embassy between 2014 and 2017. During this period I, along with my husband, had the chance to discover Kuwait and its welcoming and friendly people. We liked it so much that to return one day became our dream. The dream became true in October 2018, when I came back, this time as ambassador.
“Being a diplomat in this country is easy going because the authorities, especially those from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are always ready to help in order to facilitate my tasks and make my work productive.”
Turning to bilateral relations in other fields, the Argentine envoy noted: “An important beacon in our bilateral relationship, is the cooperation for development that Kuwait provides to Argentina through loans granted by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. This remarkable institution finances several infrastructure projects in different Argentine provinces, many of them related to water management. Last May a loan agreement for the construction of an aqueduct between the provinces of Santa Fe and Cordoba was signed in Kuwait by the governors of both provinces and the Director General of the Kuwait Fund, Marwan Al-Ghanem.
“Argentina also has interesting offers for Kuwait, especially regarding the food security issue. Argentina is a country not only possessing abundant fertile lands, but also strong agricultural production and product know-how. The Argentine agricultural sector has increased its productivity substantially in recent years due to the increasing availability of technology, the accumulation of managerial
and technical proficiency, and the development of efficient input supply and grain handling systems. Argentina produces a great variety of agricultural products such as cereals, fats and oils, beef, lamb and related products and dairy products.
“Besides food supply capabilities, my country also produces state-of-the-art high-tech products such as 2D and 3D radars for civil and military application, nuclear technology applied to health care, nuclear reactors, aeroespacial and satellites. In addition, Argentina offers the possibility of technology transfer to its strategic partners.”
Pointing to the current relatively modest volume of trade between the two countries, and the huge potential to augment this, the ambassador noted: “According to the statistics for 2020, the exports from Argentina to Kuwait reached US$75 million, while Argentina imported goods from Kuwait worth $1 million. I know it is pretty modest, but the pandemic factor was to blame for the decreased trade in 2020.
“In the past the main export goods from Argentina to Kuwait were barley, yellow corn, textured protein, solid residues from the manufacture of soybean oil and oranges. Imports from Kuwait were machinery, tyres and mechanical seals. We are now working to expand the trade, despite disturbances to the chain of supply because of the pandemic, and now because of the war in Eastern Europe.”
Describing the Argentinian community in Kuwait as “pretty small” the envoy revealed that, “there are only around a hundred Argentines living in Kuwait. Some of them are engineers and accountants who work for oil companies. We also have teachers, trainers, veterinarians, pilots and hotel staff, beauticians, and photographers among others”.
Pivoting to the immense tourism potential of her country, the vast number of places of interest to travelers, and plans to increase the number of tourists from Kuwait, Ambassador Zampieri said: “Argentina’s diverse geography encompasses everything from harsh deserts to humid jungles, and long ocean beaches to the soaring Andes. Stretching from the subtropical north to the subantarctic regions of beautiful Patagonia in the south, Argentina’s cultural, artistic, and architectural heritage is very diverse, with influences from around the world.
“When visitors arrive in Buenos Aires, they are amazed by its European style and its rich cultural life with museums, theaters and monuments. The food is also a main attraction. Generally the first meal the visitors choose is a ‘parrillada’, or mixed grill with the most tasty beef cuts that you can dream of.
“Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world by land area. It is in the global top-10 of World Heritage natural sites of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Among the sites of particular interest to visitors are the Iguazú Falls, the world’s largest group of waterfalls; the Perito Moreno Glacier, a massive 30-kilometer-long ice formation holding the world’s third largest freshwater reserve; and the Valdes Peninsula, a site of global significance for the conservation of marine mammals, which forms a natural reserve for majestic whales, elephant seals, sea lions, and orcas. In addition, keeping in mind the latest trends in sustainable tourism, the country can offer an array of natural attractions.
“On the cultural front, we organize several cultural activities at the embassy, such as tango seminars and Spanish lessons. Before the pandemic a number of Argentine artists came to Kuwait to perform music shows, from tango to lírica.
After the past two years of forced suspension of activities because of the pandemic, the tango lessons are back at the embassy. This year two teams of professors organized tango seminars for an eclectic group of amateurs of different ages and nationalities. These gatherings are a signature event within the tango lovers community in Kuwait. In September, we also plan to launch a new set of Spanish lessons at the embassy for beginners and advanced students.
Concluding the interview with her thoughts on Kuwait and its future, Ambassador Zampieri stated: “Kuwait has everything to succeed in its endeavors. The source of wealth for the country is not only its oil, it is also endowed with a wave of very talented young people with the commitment to start a business, develop scientific knowledge and explore different cultures. I especially praise the Kuwaiti girls and women who demonstrate their skills in fields usually reserved for men, such as becoming the CEOs of companies. Other women in Kuwait excel because of their passionate involvement in humanitarian work, gender empowerment or environment protection. This new generation of well-educated Kuwaitis will guarantee a fruitful path into the future for this country.”