Bengaluru student city’s top British diplomat for a day

east greets west

Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, Deputy High Commissioner, British Deputy High Commission Bengaluru greets Ambalika Banerjee, at One day British Deputy High Commissioner. (DH photo/S K Dinesh)

Local student Ambalika Banerjee (24) was made the British Deputy High Commissioner in Bengaluru for a day on Friday, a rare opportunity to oversee the diplomatic mission of an important nation.  

Ambalika, winner of the pan-India competition ‘High Commissioner for a Day', was the first woman British Deputy High Commissioner in Bengaluru. She would hand over the position to the incumbent Deputy High Commissioner, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford.

The position allowed her to take a glimpse into the various aspects of the Indo-UK diplomatic relations first-hand, as she networked with dignitaries and chaired meetings with beneficiaries.

During the day, Ambalika visited the Whitefield office of Tesco, the British retailer, and interacted with its leadership team. She also met with the citizen group Whitefield Rising and learnt about the pressing civic issues.

The process to select Ambalika involved recording of a one-minute video on why gender equality is important and who the participants see as their biggest gender equality inspiration.

The competition — organised for girls aged between 18 and 23 to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child — was held in several cities, including Chennai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. Ambalika finished third in the competition, while Gorakhpur girl Ayesha Khan finished first.

A journalism student at Bengaluru's Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Ambalika hails from Kolkata. She has a sociology honours degree from Delhi's Miranda House College. She also worked with the women development cell at Miranda House as general secretary.

Before moving to Bengaluru, Ambalika worked at the American Express.

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