What does it mean to truly engage with the world around you, to connect with others and understand their struggles, and to use your own experiences and talents to create change? In an exclusive interview with Yinka Amuda, we dive into the fascinating life and career of a former diplomat who is using her creativity to create positive social impact. From navigating the complexities of international relations to sharing her diverse creative pursuits in writing, music, and film, her story offers invaluable insights into the ways in which one person can touch the lives of many. At its core, this article explores the power of empathy, adaptability, and a never-ending drive to leave a positive impact on the world.
A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.Eleanor Roosevelt
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From diplomatic service to teaching, writing, music and film production
Serving as a diplomat may seem like a world away from writing, teaching, and creating music, yet the skills and experiences acquired in this high-profile profession can be readily applied to other areas of life. Our interviewee’s time as a diplomat taught her the importance of engaging with people from all walks of life, both respectfully and tactfully. She also experienced the challenges of adapting to new environments and cultures, which further broadened her understanding of the world.
Her transition to teaching and writing was spurred by her desire to settle in one place with her family. In her new career, she found a way to channel her experiences and talents into empowering her students and readers, as well as using her passion for music to create and share her own songs. As an artist and educator, she has taken the lessons of her diplomatic career and applied them to create positive change and understanding in her communities.
A woman on a mission to create a lasting social impact using self-expression
Throughout her journey, Yinca has made it her mission to give back to the world and help others achieve their dreams. Whether it’s sponsoring the education of students in Africa, supporting junior staff at her former workplace, or fostering vulnerable children in her community, her philanthropic efforts have touched countless lives.
In her artistic adventures, she continually explores new forms of self-expression and channels her experiences into her work. From writing Amazon best-selling books to creating music and a movie, her creative process is ever-evolving, fuelled by her diverse interests and passion for making a difference.
Pursuing passions to create social impact
When it comes to following your passions and making an impact in your community, Yinka’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of perseverance and self-belief. In her own words, “Once you have realized your interest in doing something and you are creative, it is advisable to pursue that route and not bury your talent.”
Her upcoming film project, a faith-based supernatural thriller that tackles issues like inclusion and female empowerment, is just one example of how she uses her creativity to create awareness and inspire social change.
Yinka Amuda: creating social impact for a better future
As she continues to expand her reach, Yinca has ambitious plans for the future. From starting a foundation to support women in speaking up for themselves to creating documentaries on mental health and social issues, she remains dedicated to using her voice and talents to make a lasting difference in the lives of others.
How did your experience as a diplomat influence your perspective on life and the ways you engage with communities across the world?
Diplomacy is not only about negotiations and relations between countries of the world. I got to have an insight into aspects of trade and investments when it comes to what the host countries and the sending state can offer one another. You get the opportunities to meet and relate with people from different nationalities anywhere in the world, including the Presidents and Heads of States. Every occasion you wine and dine with aristocrats, you tend to relax and not think too much about the many arduous tasks you have to resolve or deal with.
You attend several receptions and you arrange some as well. Gifts are exchanged, while you promote the goodies from your country to the outside world. One also learns from other nationalities.
As you would see from my movie when it is eventually produced, it surely depicts some aspects of diplomatic aestheticism, diplomatic heights, world or lifestyle, some acceptable and unacceptable.
Going on different postings is not without its many challenges, especially if you are with family. First of all, there is that language barrier if you are posted to countries where other languages other than your mother tongue or your country’s official languages are spoken. Postings and diplomatic assignments took me to different cities and countries such as, London, Switzerland, New York, Washington, Tanzania, Angola, Namibia, Dublin.
In some families, children find themselves learning another language each time you go on a different posting. Most of the time they attend international schools at the expense of your own government. Culture shock is one thing any diplomat has to be ready to face and deal with, most especially the women.
It is surely an interesting profession which carries along its specific arduous responsibilities as well.
When you engage with communities in different places, you must remember to deal with everyone, both young and old, politely, respectfully and tactfully. Dealing with people diplomatically can bridge different gaps between acquaintances, whether high or low status.
A full year of training at the “Foreign Service Academy” at the start of your diplomatic career normally prepares you for the job and all it entails.
Can you share a pivotal moment from your diplomatic career that left a lasting impact on you?
I organised a Presidential Visit during my posting to Dublin. And it was my duty to receive my President who came on a State visit to the Republic. I played a major role in the meeting arrangements between both governments. It was a successful visit which attracted lots of foreign investors from both countries during the Business Conference.
One memorable moment was when I received the letter for my first overseas posting. The fact that I was selected among those going to London was really exciting and exhilarating. Being my second home, I felt very much at home and at ease in London and it was the same with my family. Everyone was happy, it was not a strange place; deep inside, I knew London is a very busy post. I had to prepare for hard work. There were lots of lovely moments though, like the yearly invitation to a cocktail and ball reception with the Queen and the royal family at Buckingham Palace. Evening receptions like these always leave a lasting impact in the minds of diplomats. At the time, I was a Second Secretary, still early in my diplomatic career.
What inspired you to transition from diplomacy to teaching, writing, and creating music? How do these diverse pursuits intertwine in your life?
I voluntarily left the diplomatic service when I was a Minister Counsellor, the same year that I received a call from the State House, Office of the President, informing that I was about to be nominated as Ambassador. Months prior to that, I received the President at my then current post. But I unfortunately declined the nomination, as I was planning to finally settle with my family right after that posting.
Settling back in London with family, I decided to change career, hence the teaching which I quite adore. I did go back to Uni for the Post graduate Certificate in Education even though I already obtained two Masters degrees in different fields earlier in life.
With this new educational qualification, I taught in colleges both in England and Wales, including some school supervision. I was appointed the Head of department in a college at some point. This was what prompted my book writing. My very first published book was tailored to my students’ needs at this college. Thereafter, I developed an interest in writing other books. The ideas just kept flowing. I was encouraged by a former Minister of education in Nigeria and the Executive Secretary at the Educational Research to write some school books according to the syllabus. Following this trust, I took the plunge, and this was very successful after the assessment. I thank God for all the work, because I could not ascribe the success to just my own understanding and intellect.
My interest in entertainment and my passion for music were the reasons behind the adaptation of some of my stories into scripts and screenplays. One of my screenplays was recommended for development by three industry figures at a BFI event. Some of my books are Amazon bestsellers, giving me the impetus and the encouragement to keep going and entertaining interested ones.
I have a passion for music, so I write songs of different genres. I was encouraged to produce the songs I wrote. So I decided to sing some of them, thereby making music videos for two of the songs on YouTube. Another song is in audio; the music video will be developed later.
As a philanthropist, what are some of the most memorable moments or projects you have been involved in, and how have they shaped your outlook on life?
I have assisted several people in Africa, in pursuing their education, by sponsoring them through to the end of their courses. I also encouraged and sponsored some hard-working junior staff at my former place of work, to successfully pursue their chosen goals or careers. In life, giving is pleasurable and you derive happiness in it.
“There is more happiness in giving, than there is in receiving” according to the Bible.
In Wales, I have also fostered and taken care of some of the so-called difficult children in the community. I was featured as “Mother of Mercy” in Wales on Sunday, Observer Newspapers, and some others. This is in appreciation of my contribution in the Social Care sector.
Your work covers various forms of artistic expression, from writing books to creating music videos. How do you manage your creative process and stay inspired across different mediums ?
I am always busy. In my quiet moments, I think about things happening in life, I sometimes feel like making some contribution. Whenever I think of doing or creating something, I try it out, experiment with it, if I feel I’m capable. And because I pursue different things, that is probably why I ended up doing varied stuff.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make a positive impact in their community or follow their passion in the arts?
One should not give up on following one’s passion. Once you have realised your interest in doing something and you are creative, it is advisable to pursue that route and not bury your talent. If however, there are obstacles in the way of progress, you can seek help, collaborate, ask for advice from those who show interest in such ventures and can encourage you. Often in life, when we love to do things, if there is a barrier, we tend to give up. That doesn’t help because, if we stick to making our passion a success, we would allow other people to benefit and be an inspiration to them.
Can you share more about the movie you are currently developing based on one of your screenplays? What message or impact do you hope it will have on audiences?
The movie is about a brave girl, who fulfils her ambition of becoming a Foreign Service Officer, but has to fight demonic, malicious and exceptionally corrupt individuals all the way from her village to her foreign postings.
The story shines light on instances of sexual harassment in some countries that notoriously run riot like a pandemic and go unnoticed. It highlights accounts of victims and perpetrators in these environments and workplaces, as well as showing the power of women to stand up, speak out and fight back.
It is a faith-based supernatural thriller. The project needs to be made because, thrillers that represent Africans, African-Americans, and women are vastly underrepresented in the media. Women in peril is a particularly popular subgenre of thrillers and supernatural thrillers are incredibly popular.
The film is meant to bring awareness to some people who have been affected by such incidents as the “Me Too” movements, incidents of harassment, victimisation, oppression, and those who are still going through such trauma. It encourages women to speak up for themselves. I want to reach a global audience, to prevent bad things from happening to people and to assist victims.
In what ways do you plan to expand your reach and create movements through your artistic ventures in the future?
I plan to start a Foundation for Women to Speak Up for Themselves. The Foundation can support causes that impact the community.
I intend to make documentaries on Mental health, and those that showcase and condemn incidents of harassment, victimisation and oppression and how people can seek and get help that are readily available for those affected instead of keeping quiet and suffering in silence and in isolation. With adequate assistance, victims would be able to stand up for themselves and speak out and fight back.
Yinca’s incredible journey from diplomacy to the world of arts serves as an inspiration for anyone looking to make a positive impact in their community and follow their passion. It showcases the power of empathy, adaptability, and the importance of never giving up on one’s dreams. Through her story, Yinca proves that the power to create change is within each of us, and that by embracing our talents and experiences, we can all leave a lasting impact on the world.
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