South African High Commissioner designate Robina Marks aims to enhance trade relations
Srimal Fernando, Global Editor of The Diplomatic Society interviews South Africa’s incoming High Commissioner Marks to Sri Lanka
Photo: High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ms R P Marks
South Africa’s designate High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ms R P Marks will serve in Sri Lanka for the next four years.
During her posting, she is expected to also serve as South Africa’s High Commissioner to The Maldives and Bangladesh; as well as Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Nepal. She is looking forward to enhancing trade relations with all four countries, to encourage investment and technology transfer to South Africa and showcase her beautiful country as a tourist destination. Her rich background in grassroots activism, particularly for gender equality, should also benefit new areas of engagement with these South Asian countries.
In addition to this, she also brings expertise in economic diplomacy gained in her previous posting, where she was able to elevate South Africa’s trade relations with countries of accreditation to new heights with impressive increases in trade and partnerships. She is excited by the range of possibilities and hopes to see many high level visits, as well as trade delegations to and from South Africa.
She previously served as South Africa’s Ambassador to Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
She holds a BA Honours degree in Sociology from the University of Western Cape, South Africa; a Master’s degree in Gender and Development from the University of Sussex, UK; a Teacher’s Diploma from the University of Western Cape, South Africa; as well as an Advanced Diploma in Institutional Development from the University of Manchester, UK.
Ms Marks has held various senior positions in Private and Public institutions, primarily as a researcher, consultant, lecturer and adviser. In this capacity, she specialised in Identity Politics, Diversity management, Restorative Justice and Gender mainstreaming. Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, Ms Marks served in senior management as Chief Director at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
A former political detainee under the then Internal Security Act 29 during the Anti-Apartheid struggle, Ms Marks was a student, community and trade union activist, a gender activist and a regional organizer of the United Democratic Front, a fore-runner of the then banned African National Congress (the current ruling party), and an anti-apartheid forum that campaigned for the release of political prisoners and the unbanning of all political organizations.
Ms Marks has a particular interest in issues of transitional justice, human rights, gender, peace and security, and issues relating to dealing with inter-generational trauma and creating communities-in-dialogue for social cohesion. She has published monographs and papers on the Politics and Practice of Identity Politics, Organizational Transformation, Engendering Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, and Gender, Peace and Security.
In October 2011 she accepted an invitation to become a diplomat and the President, on the advice of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, appointed her as the Ambassador to Thailand. She took up her appointment in Bangkok on 23 March 2012 where she served until June 2016. Subsequent to that, she was nominated and appointed High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, also accredited to Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh from July 1st, 2016.