Sheela E. Krishnan

The U.S. Public Diplomacy Desk Officer is reaching out to people to make them aware of the infinite opportunities before them. She shares her thoughts with Dennis Marcus Mathew .

‘Connecting people’ might be the brand slogan of a mobile phone manufacturer for many, but for Sheela E. Krishnan, that is her job.

The United States Public Diplomacy Desk Officer for Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, who traces her roots to Thaliparamba and takes pride that a major part of her education was done in Thiruvananthapuram, was in the city, meeting with people from different walks of life and more importantly, with students, mainly from her alma mater, Holy Angels School, Nanthencode, on Monday. “I’m trying to give them a flavour of my own life, to instil in them a sense of possibility which can change the path of your life. I moved into international relations and this job after 15 years in the private sector and I’m really enjoying it. In fact, you can say I’m having a ball,” she laughs.

Though primarily concerned with public diplomacy in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Ms. Krishnan was here as part of her outreach duties, which she says has been a ‘fascinating’ experience. With the U.S. interested in South Asian affairs and looking at improving ties not just between the governments but between the people of these countries as well, the possibilities are infinite, she says.

The education opportunities for Indian students in the U.S. are not known well enough here and there are still many who are not using their opportunities to reach out to the U.S. Consulate in Chennai and know more about these.

“We would like to see more students try out the numerous undergraduate programmes we have for them and we are encouraging people from the U.S. too to come over to India through programmes like Passport to India and other education-related mutual exchange programmes. The aim is to get people of both countries to know each other because much more can be achieved when people connect more than governments,” she says, pointing out that she was using her chance as a U.S. diplomat to show the young people here the opportunities that lay before them. Ms. Krishnan, who was a Holy Angels student from Class III to X and later a postgraduate student with the University of Kerala, says the capital city has changed ‘tremendously’. The residential areas, however, were still much like the old Trivandrum, ‘nice and quiet’. “The spirit of this city remains much the same, and I like that and I also hope it keeps pace with development,” she adds.