Addressing the students and faculty of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the national international relations and diplomacy, academic, training, best-practice and research institution, Dr. John Ballard, Dean of the UAE National Defense College said that the UAE’s future security, stability and prosperity will depend on a modern, flexible and multi-faceted approach to diplomacy but needs to be underpinned by a consistent focus on national interests.
The former Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs at the National War College in Washington and senior US Marine officer, delivered a lecture on the topics of ‘UAE National Interests and Foreign Policy’, calling on the diplomats of tomorrow and the country’s youth to build their diplomatic capabilities, skills, approaches and to seize the global opportunities and challenges of a fast moving 21st Century. Dr. Ballard emphasized that UAE diplomacy faces many challenges, from terrorism to migration, cyber security, climate change, and further complicated by a decline in fossil fuel prices. At the same time international trade, finance and tourism offer new opportunities for the country. Identifying those challenges and opportunities and translating them into a cohesive foreign policy goals is key for the UAE’s prosperity and development.
During his lecture, which forms a central plank of the Academy’s new 21st Century Diplomacy course, Dr. Ballard stated that “Diplomacy is one of the most important aspects of government relations in the 21st century course, not only because that is primarily how states function with one another on the global stage, but because diplomats are first and foremost the people to coordinate and focus all aspects of national power and influence in the respective country they serve in.”
Continuing he said, “Starting a career as a UAE diplomat holds great advantages. The leaders of the UAE have tirelessly worked on acquiring a reputation of reliability and consistency not least achieved through a transparent, tolerant and open-minded approach, paired with long-term vision”.
Dean Ballard also underlined that, “I am extremely proud to be involved in the efforts of the EDA. The Academy is a fundamentally important demonstration of how much the UAE values the development of its human resources and how well it is working towards creating a knowledge-based economy. This is not only an educational opportunity for young diplomats in training, but also it will have a powerful impact on the UAE and is going to be hugely beneficial.”
Commenting on the occasion, Omar Al Bitar, EDA Vice President, welcomed the highly-experienced speaker with a strong military background, saying “We are extremely proud to welcome Dr. Ballard as part of our distinguished EDA Lecture Series. The lecture on UAE national interests and foreign policy objectives has been extremely informative and interactive in nature. The lecture was most certainly thought-provoking to everybody in the audience to understand the true motivations and global power dynamics.”
The lecture was attended by His Highness Youssef Amrani, Minister, Charge de Mission at the Morocco Royal Cabinet, His Excellency Paulo Portas, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal, and Bernardino León, EDA President.