Europeian Success Stories: Monkey
A Primate Without Fear
Written by GrandfatherClock
Monkey has been a mainstay of the Europeian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the past few terms, serving as minister of foreign affairs (MoFA) in the governments of Presidents Pichtonia and Calvin Coolidge. Foreign Affairs is not the only ministry to see Monkey heading it, however. Monkey has overseen both the Ministries of Interior and Culture, the latter more than once. This familiar face in the Cabinet also served as second minister to then-First Minister McEntire.
Monkey's journey in Europeia began most recently in 2020, after being active a couple years previously. "[M]y first few days returning to the region last year [were] mostly getting used to the [executive] split." Monkey says that, upon his return, he was able to get a job very quickly: "When I decided to get involved in the region again, I was able to take on Culture Minister, which is a job I previously served in when I was first a citizen in the region, in 2017."
Using his experience in culture, Monkey found it easy to make the jump into foreign affairs (FA). "I was most comfortable and familiar with the cultural aspect of things, which can be kind of compared to the MoFA's responsibility in connecting with other regions through cultural events. I really found that that was a good way for me to be involved with an aspect of the foreign affairs ministry, and I remember I really liked contributing to those areas, whether it was helping plan a region of the week celebration or planning our booth at NSGE last year, in 2020."
Upon being elected to the post of second minister, Monkey honed his skills in the political aspect of foreign affairs, something crucial to the post of minister. It was "helpful for [him] to identify an area that [he] was interested in and knew [he] was confident in, and then think of how [he] could use that interest or skill in other ministries." Foreign affairs has always been an area that Monkey has expressed interest in, especially when he "came to appreciate the politics behind Europeia," and being second minister allowed him to pursue that interest.
"[O]ne of the basics is learning effective communication and really how to talk to people though, that's a skill you need no matter what. Whether it's talking to our allies, people in the NS community, or even presenting/receiving information from within Europeia, you really have to know how to effectively communicate with others," Monkey adds, explaining how to set yourself up for success in FA. "Something I've really learned to do is be curious and ask the right questions. Whenever something important pops up, I think it's really important to ask questions and really know the full picture before making any kind of decision on actions to take."
The current minister of foreign affairs also offers advice on what not to do, explaining that he felt that his fear of asking questions could have hampered him in the beginning: "I felt like it was a sign of weakness or not being educated. It's true that a lot of information is already out there and easily accessible, but it's also important to remember that there are a lot of people here with a wealth of experience who have a lot to add, and it's helpful getting their perspective at times too!" Monkey has since shaken that fear, explaining that he knows how to "[be] a good communicator."
Monkey credits his success in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to many people, but mainly Sopo and Kuramia. Monkey served as a deputy to Kuramia in their term as MoFA, and under Sopo as vice president. Vice Presidents in Europeia have a lot of involvement with other regions in a foreign affairs capacity. He remembers "having some conversations with people like Pichtonia or HEM", and underscores the value of learning from people with FA experience, as he does continually with these and other faces such as Common-Sense Politics and Kazaman, who are known for their involvement in foreign affairs. Above all else, he says, show your enthusiasm for the ministry!
About the responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monkey gives insight on how to build new relationships with regions. "Things like cultural celebrations are a great way to see what members of the region value. ... it once again depends a little on where opportunities lie I think!" Other times, though, Monkey says that the ministry is needed in times of political 'crisis' in the region, where The Embassy raid comes to mind: "It's really important to have someone knowledgeable/experienced in foreign affairs to take a lead on managing those situations." However, he also notes that the ministry is always needed for good representation of Europeia abroad, and that is why it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the longest-established ministries in the region.
Monkey offers some advice for newcomers: "It really seems like a difficult ministry at first, but there are a lot of ways to get yourself involved (like I did, through culture at first!). I think it's an incredibly rewarding job, and even if some days are more stressful or busier than others, I've really enjoyed serving." While the current head of the foreign affairs ministry has quite an impressive resume, he thinks he can always be improving his leadership skills, and looks forward to the challenges he will face.