The Diplomat by Chance

To promote the interests of his country with the interests of the country he is assigned; and strengthen the ties between two countries is the primary role of being an ambassador—that is how Philippine Ambassador Sahid S. Glang defines his job.

Amb. Glang is the Philippines’ top diplomat in the Kingdom of Bahrain since May 2013. He grew up in the town of Kabuntalan in the beautiful province of Maguindanao, married and blessed with three kids.

Indeed, he came a long way from the southern Philippines to the Kingdom—but the ambassador never planned to be in the field of foreign affairs, much more to become the country’s top diplomat.

One can say that his career was accidental. Amb. Glang, who finished Bachelor of Arts in English and Social Science at Cotabato City’s Notre Dame University, merely chanced upon on the lecture room while waiting for his passport to be processed.

He only wanted to work in the academe, or simply publish a book on Philippine history and culture. But upon hearing the lecture—which was being conducted by a Filipino ambassador then—it enticed him to take the Foreign Service examination that later on changed his life forever.

When Amb. Glang applied for a passport in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in 1986, with the liking to work abroad someday, he accidentally came upon the room near the passport section wherein the lecture is about the Philippine diplomacy.

Luckily, the DFA officer allowed him to enter the room and listen to the lecture. And thereafter, he decided to take the Foreign Service officers’ Examination with the encouragement from his uncle and his brother.

In preparation for the exams, Amb. Glang stayed long hours reviewing his notes, reading the newspapers and digesting the magazines for his references in the National Library and in Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Library in Manila.

Upon passing the exam in 1988, Amb. Glang joined the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and rose from the ranks. In 1991, he was assigned in Brunei as a vice consul and also became an acting ambassador in the office.

He felt excited of his first out-of-the-country assignment, Amb. Glang said. “I had the chance to exchange views with my counter parts- both in Brunei and other ASEAN countries,” he told the Filipino Life.

After his term in Brunei, he was eventually assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and was promoted there as second secretary.

Amb. Glang climbed his way up because of his hard work: he became the consul general and prior to that, he was also the consul’s career minister and first secretary in Egypt. Amb. Glang said that being a diplomat for the first time is very challenging.

“It helps me a lot in widening my perspective in life and in knowing how friendly, welcoming and hospitable people are [in Bahrain],” he said.

Amb. Glang said that balancing the interests of the country he represents with the country he is assigned to is the biggest challenge he encounters, particularly if the interests of both countries sometimes clashes, which is unavoidable.

“But in most areas, the interests of the sending country and the receiving country are essentially similar,” Amb. Glang said.

Yet on a lighter note, the ambassador acknowledged that he is fortunate to work with the Kingdom’s officials especially both Bahrainis and Filipinos are tightly bonded.

“They are very accessible from my assignment and I also realize how close Bahrainis and Filipinos are,” he said.

To excel, to endure and to be dedicated in their jobs are what the ambassador’s advice to all the Filipinos who want to be successful with their careers.

“So that they can be noticed and be recognized by their employers and ensure their upward mobility in their workplace,” Amb. Glang shared.

Related posts