There’s never a dull day in the Cabinet of the International Bureau, says the office’s coordinator, Abdellatif Meskine.According to Meskine, each day his desk sees hundreds of pages of requests destined for the UPU’s General Management. It’s a task that requires multidimensional coordination and agility when it comes to prioritization, as many requests reach the office at the same time and most require an immediate response. His team is also responsible for preparing the Council of Administration and Postal Operations Council sessions, as well as Congresses.
“Chef de Cabinet isn't a high-profile position, but it is one that calls for a high degree of credibility,” says Meskine. “Between handling incoming files, keeping the directorates informed, facilitating General Management decisions, organizing and running committees, preparing reports and following up on activities, you must always remain calm and helpful.”
On top of managing coordination with all corners of the International Bureau, the head of the Cabinet must satisfy the needs of three bosses: the Director of the Executive Office, the Deputy Director General and, of course, the Director General himself.
He credits his team for managing the immense work load. “The vigilance, patience and professionalism of the Cabinet team mean that, at the end of the day, all actions are implemented or scheduled.”
His well-rounded career in the Post has also readied him to take up the challenging duty.
“I can say that working for the Post gave me a good grounding in the business from a commercial and operational point of view, but also in terms of project management and, above all, team management,” he explains.
Meskine spent 20 years working with Poste Maroc in various capacities, including coordinating the internal operations of post offices, managing an entire region, and overseeing the commercial and operational aspects of mail and parcels at the organization’s headquarters. One of his main accomplishments there was helping the post achieve B-level and then A-level UPU quality certification. He also contributed in UPU working groups on behalf of Morocco.
“Before coming to the UPU, I had led the Arab region's work on terminal dues and led the group charged with markets development. I also travelled to a number of countries to provide consultancy in my areas of expertise. This is what prompted me to join the UPU and make a bigger contribution to the region's development under the UPU's strategy,” he explains.
Upon joining the UPU in 2012, Meskine coordinated the programme responsible for the Arab region and training in the UPU’s Development Cooperation Directorate (DCDEV). He later went on to serve the same function for the Africa region, before joining the Cabinet in 2017.
When asked about his favourite part of the job, he answers, “I take great pleasure seeing the Director General and Deputy Director General's programme carried out in the best possible way in terms of time and results. Each day has its own story. Each year its own Congress.”
“It has been a pleasure and an honour to have this unique experience, despite the challenges you can imagine,” he says.
Although Cabinet work keeps him occupied, Meskine ensures he dedicates time to the education of his two children, making sure his parents are keeping well and exploring Switzerland and its culture.
His interest of understanding the intricate details of how things work also extends into his personal life. He devotes a portion of his spare time to learning what makes Swiss watches tick.
“As a bit of a tinkerer, I have gradually moved on to external maintenance, cleaning, changing of straps, batteries and polishing... to help me wind down from the daily workload at the office,” he says.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Union Postale.