Future Leaders Network

Develop. Lead. Change.

My Experience at the Austrian Embassy - Sadbh O'Reilly

Having recently moved to London, I was eager to find opportunities where I could connect with like-minded young professionals, interested in the same things I was. What attracted me to the Future Leaders Network was the recognition that young people don’t just have the potential for leadership but already have the qualities that make them leaders, but rather young people are just lacking the opportunities to exercise their leadership skills. 

 I first came across the Future Leaders Network  for their Policy Proposal Roundtable in the lead up to the Y7 and Y20 conference in Paris and Tokyo respectively. The aim was to generate a shortlist of policy proposals, informed by the themes of the summit, that the UK delegates could later expand further. The FLN team strongly emphasised that the delegates were there to formulate policy proposals that were as representative of the views of Britain’s young people as possible.

Following on from the success of the Roundtable, the second event was a consultation session to further develop a policy proposal for the UK delegates to bring to the Y7 and Y20 summits in the coming months. Held at the London Mayor’s Office, the theme was ‘Diversity in Tech’, drawing together participants from the public service to those working in the tech sphere. As a result of the myriad of insight and experience from the participants', the conversations were informative, illuminating, and engaging.

 The Austrian Ambassador Event

On the Wednesday, the 19th of June, Austrian Ambassador to the UK, Michael Zimmerman, opened his residency for an evening with him. Organised by the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy as part of their Embassy series, this was a unique and special opportunity to gain insight into the challenges day-to-day priorities of an esteemed diplomat. 

He began with a brief history of the building, nestled on the iconic Belgrave Mews, highlighting the effects of the shifting dynamics of Austro-UK relations throughout the twentieth century had on the building. Then walking through his illustrious career, he highlighted times he felt challenged or historical moments he was privileged to have participated in, before shifting gears to outline his priorities and responsibilities as the Austrian Ambassador to the UK, such as hosting cultural events to commemorate important dates or showcase Austria’s burgeoning artistic community. A short question-and-answer session revealed the Austrian perspective on pressing issues in the current political landscape and future trends. The event was wrapped up with a chance to network and reconnect with other attendees at the nearby Star Tavern.

 As a result of my participation in the Future Leaders Network, I have been exposed to opportunities and people that were previously inaccessible, and gained insight into the highest levels of decision-making and diplomacy. The chance to meet and have engaging conversations with other motivated and ambitious young people is what ultimately draws me back to the Future Leaders Network. I look forward to what the Future Leaders Network has in store for the rest of 2019.


About the Author


Sadbh is a recent graduate, passionate about international relations and diplomacy. Having moved around the world during her childhood, her interest in creating cross-border relationships to promote peace and understanding led her to study Politics and International relations at the University of Melbourne, with a particular interest in China. Since then, she has worked across disciplines to cover her interests in foreign policy, international development, and public diplomacy. She aspires to work in the foreign service or in an NGO promoting peace, development, and conflict mediation.

She is currently an Account Manager at The Future Factory.