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Friday, May 24, 2024

US State Department appoints new spokesperson in London

During a visit to the Geo News London office, MacLeod showcased her linguistic prowess by passionately speaking in fluent Urdu.

The US State Department has appointed Margaret MacLeod as its spokesperson in London. What sets MacLeod apart is her fluency in Urdu and Hindi, along with an impressive vocabulary and extensive knowledge of India and Pakistan gained during her diplomatic assignments in these countries.

Passionate Advocate for South Asian Languages

During a visit to the Geo News London office, MacLeod showcased her linguistic prowess by passionately speaking in fluent Urdu. She attributed her proficiency in the language to her stay in Pakistan and the meaningful friendships she formed during her tenure as a diplomat in the region. Her firsthand experiences in cities across Pakistan, coupled with a focus on historic sites, have deepened her understanding and appreciation of the cultural nuances of the region.

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Journey to Language Mastery

MacLeod’s journey into mastering Urdu began in the United States, where she took language lessons as part of her diplomatic post requirements. However, it was her direct interactions with native speakers in Pakistan and India that allowed her to truly refine her skills. Describing the initial challenges, she expressed how difficult it was to pronounce certain words and deliver vowels accurately. Yet, with perseverance and dedication, she overcame these hurdles and now considers Urdu a “beautiful language.” Her linguistic repertoire also extends to fluency in Japanese and Gujarati.

Diplomat’s Tale 

MacLeod served in Pakistan from 2010 onwards, where she explored various cities and delved into the rich historical tapestry of the country. Her diplomatic postings in Islamabad and Karachi allowed her to immerse herself in the local culture, enabling her to connect with the people on a personal level. Fondly reminiscing about her experiences, she highlighted her visits to historical sites such as the Khewra Salt Mines and Rothas Qilla. Taxila, the historic city, holds a special place in her heart as her favorite destination.

Source of News and Inspiration

Currently posted in the US Embassy’s International Media Hub, MacLeod engages with South Asian, Dari, and Pan-Aran media, with a particular focus on India and Pakistan. She shared that her sources for obtaining news about Pakistan include Geo News and Voice of America. Expressing her commitment to language learning, she mentioned using her language skills in everyday life, from ordering food in restaurants to conversing on the streets of London with Hindi and Urdu speakers.

Cultural Connections 

Before assuming her role in London, MacLeod was posted in New Delhi, where she observed striking cultural similarities between the two neighboring nations. Emphasizing the strong cultural relations between India and Pakistan, she described her time in both countries as a great experience. MacLeod, a seasoned American diplomat, has served in various overseas assignments, including roles in US Missions in India, Pakistan, and Japan.

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A distinguished professional, MacLeod holds a doctorate in Sustainable Development from Columbia University and earned her bachelor’s degree in International Economics from Georgetown University. Her academic journey includes studies at the Delhi School of Economics as a Rotary Scholar. With a background that includes working in the US Senate and the US Mission to the United Nations, MacLeod brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her current role.