His Excellency José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Former Prime Minister of Spain and a prominent advocate of human rights and inter-civilisational dialogue, gave a lecture to students at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA). Addressing students in the Academy’s Sheikh Zayed Hall, Mr Zapatero’s address dealt with the topic of ‘The Force of Public Diplomacy’.
Commenting on the theme of his lecture, Mr Zapatero said: “The inevitable advance of globaliation, facilitated by technological progress and ease of movement, means that we live in an increasingly interconnected world. One important result of this is a growing need for professional and adaptable diplomats. In order to understand other countries, we need to acquire a deep knowledge of their geography and history so that we gain the cultural awareness that can enhance dialogue.
“The crucial importance of informed advice requires diplomats committed to the goals of promoting peace, respecting diversity, defending human rights and supporting progress. Most important of all is the need to avoid prejudice, which is a primary cause of conflict and misunderstandings”, added Mr Zapatero.
Following the lecture, His Excellency engaged the interested audience in an interactive session where students were able to discuss pressing issues in international relations and diplomacy with the former Prime Minister. During this session the politician highlighted the importance of diplomacy in decision-making and consensus building on a national level.
Bernardino León, the President of the EDA, said: “We have been honoured to host His Excellency today, and I would like to thank Mr Zapatero’s for his fascinating and insightful speech. I know from personal experience His Excellency’s abilities when I had the privilege of working with him.”
The lecture is the latest in a series of presentations in which distinguished speakers are hosted by the Emirates Diplomatic Academy. Reflecting its mandate to train the UAE’s future diplomatic cadre and offer thought leadership on international affairs, the Academy is gaining a growing reputation as a platform for discussion on pertinent regional and global topics.
“Mr Zapatero’s speech was the latest distinguished contribution to our ongoing series of lectures by senior international leaders and diplomats from around the world. The Academy is establishing a growing reputation as a forum of choice for high-level debate and for preparing the next generation of UAE diplomats to protect and promote their country’s interests”, added Mr Leon.
Mr Zapatero is the former Prime Minister of Spain, serving two consecutive terms in 2004 and 2008. In this capacity, Mr Zapatero emphasised that Europe’s future was linked to the global crisis. He strengthened Spain’s presence in Europe and Latin America while also building links with emerging powers like China and areas historically linked to Spain such as the countries in northern Africa.
The Emirates Diplomatic Academy provides a comprehensive educational experience designed to prepare future diplomats of the UAE through state-of-the-art teaching methods including lectures and interactive discussions with leading diplomats and decision makers.