Jessica Sharpe: London Office Internship 2023
Over the course of the past year and a half, I have had the opportunity to work first as an Intern and then as a Research & Consular Assistant in the Government of Bermuda’s London Office under the guidance of Ms Kimberley Durrant, the Government’s Representative to the UK. My time in these roles has allowed me to build upon previous experiences working locally in the Bermuda Public Service, and expand my mindset globally when promoting Bermuda’s position and reputation through diplomatic engagements. I have also gained a greater understanding of Bermuda’s relationship with the UK, and the importance of maintaining this partnership to ensure that Bermuda is best placed to engage in British and global affairs.
The greatest joy of this work comes in the ever-changing nature of the role, responding to present and evolving global issues as they arise. During my time in the Office, we have witnessed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrating her 70 years on the British throne, the Queen’s unfortunate passing and ascension of King Charles III to the throne, and multiple changes to Ministerial leadership within the UK Government. For each of these occasions, the London Office was responsible for coordinating the official visits of Bermudian dignitaries, working with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) or other embassies, and acting as an intermediary for collaboration between UK and Bermuda Government departments.
Moreover, I have been able to get exposure to and attend many diplomatic meetings, conferences and events on behalf of Bermuda. Bermuda’s participation in the UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) allows for regular engagement with the 13 other British Overseas Territories, to find areas for cooperation and collaboration on a range of issues affecting all Territories, and it has been great to get to know our colleagues from Territories scattered across the globe. The Joint Ministerial Council in May 2023 allowed me to get an in-depth look into discussions between UK and Overseas Territories’ Governments, and it was a unique opportunity to witness diplomacy first-hand.
Furthermore, another important aspect of our work in the London Office was learning from Mr Brandon Sousa, the Consulate Officer, on how to best assist Bermudians from the diaspora currently residing or studying in the UK. The consular assistance that is required often changes day-to-day, from providing guidance to Bermudians relocating to the UK, liaising with Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) on passport applications or ensuring Bermudian students are able to access for university home status. Likewise, managing time-sensitive or vulnerable situations is vital to the work of the Office, and I grew in confidence in my own abilities to assist and respond to a range of queries and circumstances throughout the year.
I would like to thank the London Office team for their support and guidance throughout this internship. I have greatly enjoyed my time here and it has confirmed my desire to continue my career in the public sector, working towards meaningful and rewarding outcomes for Bermuda through diplomatic channels. I will be leaving the London Office in September to pursue a postgraduate degree in MSc Public Policy, with the aim of returning to the Bermuda Public Service with new knowledge and greater skillsets that can benefit the Government and our country.