17 April 2017, Monday
Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s leading international relations and diplomacy, education, executive training and research institution, hosted HE Al Suwaidi for a lecture as part of the course, “Preparing for 21st Century Diplomacy”.
Over the interactive session, HE Al Suwaidi shared lessons and wisdom that he has accrued throughout his long and successful career serving the UAE as a professional diplomat. His experiences, as an expert in international negotiations, and the former advisor of the UAE Mission to the United Nations (UN), offered students an abundance of examples to draw upon, as they aspire to follow in his footsteps.
His Excellency was able to provide many real-world examples, and topical, in-depth understanding of his position as the Consul General of the UAE in New York, for which he was appointed in September 2015.
In addition, His Excellency shared takeaways from other points in his career, such as the Lead Negotiator on Climate Change.
Furthermore, HE Al Suwaidi also pulled from his background working with intergovernmental organizations, for example at the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where he supported the negotiations of the climate change agreement that was adopted at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in 2015. HE Al Suwaidi has been instrumental for other UN focus areas, including the UAE’s pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that created an international mandate for global sustainability issues. Expressing his appreciation for the lecture, His Excellency Bernardino León, President of EDA, said: “We are honoured to welcome HE Al Suwaidi to our Academy. All of us at EDA greatly benefited from learning the first-hand experience of such a talented and experienced diplomat. His Excellency shared great insights into how students can best prepare, and the skills they need, to be an effective diplomat.”
Throughout the lecture, HE Al Suwaidi highlighted challenges diplomats face, and the strategies they can use for success, “As a diplomat you have to always be prepared, as everything you do and say has a political dimension to it. In diplomacy, you work long hours, and even outside of the office, you must be on message. Everything you say should reflect the messages of the UAE.”
“To me, the three most important traits of a successful diplomat are: patience, open-mindedness to others’ perspectives, and passion for the work you are doing.”
“The world has changed, and we are in a fierce economic race. We need to make the UAE more competitive, and diversify our economy. Attracting investment and business from the USA is important for achieving this goal. Finding ways to show that the USA and UAE aren’t that different is crucial. It’s what encourages a businessman, or a tourist, to look towards the UAE.”
EDA regularly invites high-profile leaders and practitioners to enhance the educational experience of the UAE’s future diplomats, and His Excellency’s lecture was a great example of how real world lessons can better prepare students to meet the challenges they will face in the future.