Abdullah bin Zayed chairs Emirates Diplomatic Academy’s meet to lay out 2020 strategic vision
22 November 2016, Tuesday
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), chaired the inaugural Advisory Council's meeting held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday to lay out the Academy’s strategic vision for 2020. The Advisory Council comprises leading international figures from politics, academia, and policy-making, including Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi; Rt. Hon. Valerie Amos, Director, School of Oriental and African Studies; Youssef Amrani, Minister, Charge de Mission at the Morocco Royal Cabinet; Nabil Fahmy, Founding Dean, American University of Cairo; Frederic C Hof, Director, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East; Jean-David Levitte, Distinguished Fellow, Brookings Institution; Shivshankar Menon, Distinguished Fellow, Brookings Institution; Ghassan Salame, Professor of International Relations at Sciences-Po (Paris), and Dmitri Trenin, Director, Carnegie Moscow Centre. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Member of the EDA’s Board of Trustees, Bernardino Leon, President of the EDA, Omar Al Bitar, Vice-President of the EDA and former UAE Ambassador to China, and EDA’s senior management were also present at the Advisory Council meeting, the first in a series of semi-annual meetings to carve out the strategic direction of the Academy. The meetings aim to examine proposed initiatives and collaborations between governments, universities, think-tanks and multilateral institutions. Bernardino Leon said, "Our first Advisory Council meeting has been extremely productive. I look forward to working with the Advisory Council members. Each member has a deep understanding of the nature of an ever-changing landscape in international relations and diplomacy acquired through years of working on foreign policy frontlines. The appointment of the Advisory Council will have a significant impact on the Academy’s strategic direction and help the UAE nurture a highly qualified cadre of future ambassadors capable of navigating the turbulent waters of 21st century diplomacy." The Advisory Council has been set up with a mandate to ensure the development of the EDA as the region’s leading center of excellence for diplomatic capacity building, research and thought leadership.  
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Climate Change: A new frontier in 21st century global and UAE diplomacy
16 November 2016, Wednesday
A year after COP 21, climate action is high up on the international agenda. As the world shifts attention to the ongoing climate talks in Marrakech, the global community should look back to a few significant milestones along the way. Most visibly, the Paris Agreement – a direct outcome of COP 21 – has just entered into force on November 4th. One of the fastest international treaties to ever come into effect, it consequently marks a victory not only for climate negotiations, but diplomacy as a whole. In fact, as a case study in effective multi-lateral engagement, it has already outlined a new school of thought for conducting foreign affairs in our times. One of the reasons behind the recent success of COP, is the approach embodying the art of the 21st Century diplomacy. Merging the best of the two worlds, the negotiations in Paris have successfully capitalised on the consensus-building measures of multi-lateral diplomacy, as well as the lessons in efficiency and innovation from the non-state agents. Yet the work continues – for statesmen, entrepreneurs and the members of the public alike. Building on the COP 21 successes and reaffirming a clear commitment to meet global climate targets, the parties to the Paris Agreement convene in Marrakech for COP 22, aptly named “the COP of Action’. The assembly aims to agree on a framework that will convert pledges into results. The UAE delegation, including diplomats as well as representatives from businesses and academia, has joined their international counterparts to help craft a roadmap for further climate action, in turn embodying a new frontier in 21st century foreign affairs; climate change diplomacy. Such collective efforts truly reflect the raison d’être of the modern-day diplomacy. They involve multiple stakeholders – businesses and investors, governments and agencies, international bodies, the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council, academics, experts, advocacy groups, the media and the general public. Each of these stakeholders plays a distinct role in the conversation on climate change.As the first GCC country to take action and ratify the Paris Agreement, as a champion of energy diversification through the adoption of renewable and alternative energies, and as the host of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the UAE is bringing in a wide range of evidence of climate action leadership. Getting to this point has required the widest range of 21st century diplomatic skills. In terms of coalition building in the run up to the talks, it meant aligning positions of local and international stakeholders, appreciating distinct cultural and national political considerations, and communicating the efforts and successes to the public - including through digital channels, while remaining open and inclusive to all initiatives. With regards to policy, it meant deploying quantitative tools, like analysing big data, to complement the qualitative research that helps understanding the agenda of each institution involved. And when it comes to the action on the ground, most importantly of all, the success boiled down to a mixture of soft and hard diplomatic skills, and skillful diplomats who have been able to demonstrate negotiation skills, flexibility and adaptability to the ever changing dynamics. For the UAE, it is clear that the necessary targets can only be achieved through partnerships, through openness and through collaboration. The UAE’s facilitation efforts and the public-private engagement have played a defining role in the painstaking diplomacy necessary to achieve the Paris Agreement. Reinforcing the importance of the UAE in the global effort to mitigate climate change, Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General, launched the annual Abu Dhabi Global Action Day at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016, one of the world’s leading sustainability forums. The aim was to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors in realising climate change action. This January’s event will be the first global platform to debate and act on the outcomes of Marrakech. We can build on the progress achieved so far to harness new relationships and to leverage a collaborative, bridge-building mindset - brought about by the climate change negotiations. It is increasingly apparent that diplomats are an important cog in securing this legacy on the ground – through effective implementation. This is why the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the nation’s international relations and diplomacy, academic, training, best-practice and research institution, is proud to play a role in the COP 22 process. EDA is part of a special youth delegation at COP 22, alongside the UAE Ministry of Youth, Masdar Institute, Young Future Energy Leaders and New York University Abu Dhabi. EDA’s activities at Marrakech will focus on energy, climate change and sustainable development in the region, helping to shape and inform the UAE’s foreign policy positions. They are also expected to foster greater collaboration across the UAE and with regional governments. In a bid to strengthen the UAE’s diplomatic credentials, the EDA’s focus is increasingly to ensure that the country’s brightest young minds are ready to play their part in delivering concrete action on climate change and to secure the UAE’s global and regional leadership in this arena. Thus, EDA is sending students to observe and participate in the climate negotiations at Marrakech, and to report their thoughts, findings and analysis to further their knowledge and understanding of this critical area of expertise. We are proud to play our part in finding solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. At COP 22, it is the duty of the diplomatic community to turn the impacts of climate change into lasting opportunities for the benefit of all.
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EDA Launches Insight on tackling international aviation emissions
16 November 2016, Wednesday
The Emirates Diplomatic Academy has published an EDA Insight policy brief titled Tackling CO2 Emissions from International Aviation: Challenges and Opportunities Generated by the Market Mechanism ‘CORSIA’. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has agreed on a market mechanism to offset emissions growth from international air travel after 2020. This mechanism, called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for Aviation (CORSIA), is to kick in from 2021, albeit only in a voluntary form until 2027, and will then run until 2035. A total of 66 countries covering 86.5% of international aviation volume have agreed to participate in CORSIA from the beginning, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. Airlines from participating countries need to buy offset credits from projects or programmes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions to cover any increases of emissions from 2020 levels. This EDA Insight analyses the challenges and opportunities of the CORSIA and its implications for countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and their airlines. The Insight first explains the development of the CORSIA and its key features. It then estimates costs of offset acquisition and discusses which offset types should be eligible. With regards to CORSIA implementation, it makes recommendations to the UAE government and relevant ministry officials. Please note that EDA’s research outputs do not necessarily represent the views of the UAE government but seek to address issues that foreign-policy experts and practitioners both in the UAE and worldwide will find informative and relevant. Download in English:
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Russia’s UN Ambassador hails strong UAE-Russia relations as axis of stability and growth in the region
15 November 2016, Tuesday
Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the national international relations and diplomacy, academic, training, best-practice and research institution, organised a set of lectures by Vitaly Churkin, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, on various topics concerning multilateral institutions, great power politics, and UAE-Russia relations on Wednesday November 9th and Monday November 14th. Speaking at EDA, the former Russian Ambassador to Canada, offered students and faculty glimpses into the inner workings and general functions of the United Nations Security Council - a decision-making body that is playing an increasingly proactive role in a world facing new political realities. He also provided a comprehensive overview of great power politics and highlighted the historic relationship between Russia and the United States. Drawing on his rich experience as a seasoned Russian diplomat, Ambassador Churkin highlighted to the EDA-audience that negotiating international peace and security among multiple stakeholders, especially within an institutional setting, can be a daunting task. Arriving at a resolution requires each member to have an in-depth institutional understanding to bypass the first hurdles of such negotiations - guided by provisional rules and strict protocols. The absence of such understanding most probably would result in the failure to reach an agreement among the diverse parties. Expanding on the theme of great power politics, he said: “As a diplomat, besides understanding global institutions and new ways of working, spurred on by emerging technologies, markets and issues, it is vital to understand the power dynamics between governments. This often requires the diplomat to recognize the sometimes complex and nuanced history of the key actors. In an era that craves certainty, this is an important principle that cannot be forgotten.” Thanking the Russian Ambassador, Bernardino León, President of EDA, said: “The highly informative lecture by His Excellency Ambassador Churkin is further evidence of the Academy’s continued endeavors to add value to the class-room education of our future diplomats by facilitating their access to high-profile speakers and experts in the field. Such interactions provide our students with insights into global trends and developments, while also equipping them with the right tools and networking opportunities to develop their careers in the UAE’s foreign services.” During a third lecture, which was jointly organised by EDA and Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, the permanent UN-representative was welcomed by His Excellency Omar Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to Russia, and Professor Eric Canal-Forgues, Head of the University’s Department of Law, Economics and Management, to give the audience - comprising of numerous foreign diplomats, foreign affairs professionals and officials from the UAE’s ministries, as well as faculty and students from both institutions - a first-hand account on Russia’s foreign policy stance on the Middle East and the growing synergies between Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Welcoming the collaboration between Paris-Sorbonne University and EDA, Dr Fatima Al Shamsi, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University, said: “It is a great privilege to host Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who has been the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations since 2006. This lecture offered our Law and International Diplomacy students a rare opportunity to benefit from the speaker’s vast diplomatic experience. We look forward to many more such partnership events in the future. Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi was and will remain a bridge between civilizations.” In his capacity as a Russian diplomat, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin has visited EDA many times in the past and plays an important role in building political, economic and social bridges. As a regular guest to the UAE, His Excellency Churkin has played a defining role in strengthening and further developing UAE-Russia ties and in driving increased collaboration between the two countries.      
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UN Humanitarian Chief calls for new approach to tackling crises at Emirates Diplomatic Academy lecture series
09 November 2016, Wednesday
Addressing the students and faculty of Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s international relations and diplomacy, academic, training, best-practice and research institution, Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, called for a new approach to international humanitarian efforts. The UN envoy was visiting the UAE as part of a 10-day diplomatic mission spanning four countries of the GCC region. Presenting a lecture on ‘The Future of Humanitarian Response’, the UN humanitarian chief turned the scanner on the situation in the Middle East, and examined ways of initiating collaborative action to garner support for the people directly impacted by the displacement crises. O’Brien also highlighted conflicts within the current landscape, and encouraged the adoption of a more dynamic and flexible framework for focused international action. He noted that although international response in conflict management and humanitarian aid is in high demand, it is not always delivered promptly and effectively. The former UK International Development Minister and global lead in the campaign to control malaria and neglected tropical diseases elaborated on the significance of the just concluded World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and its implications for the wider humanitarian community. The Emergency Chief Coordinator said: “In a world with differing political priorities, responding to, and learning from humanitarian situations, remains an area of collective global responsibility and a platform for concerted human action. However, we need to create diplomatic relationships, platforms and mechanisms at the highest level to make this action meaningful. We need to leverage multiple ways and approaches - from those of the UN and regional blocs to bi-lateral support with supranational organizations - to implement a unified framework for action.” He added: “Every one of us has to be more receptive to using new technologies to aid information sharing and, equally, to measure impact. In addition, we need to draw more effectively on the combined resources and insights of governments, agencies, businesses and the charitable sector in order to ensure optimum utilization of scarce resources and truly make a difference with the projects we undertake.” Thanking Stephen O’Brien for his presentation to the students, Leon Bernardino, EDA President, said “The Emirates Diplomatic Academy is focused on providing the UAE-based diplomatic community with the latest trends and developments in the region. The public lecture by Stephen O’Brien on the challenges of humanitarian efforts in the MENA region, not only equip our students with expert knowledge that will further help their career development, but showcases the EDA’s unique approach in hosting a wide range of experts from various fields relating to international relations and diplomacy.” The talk was part of Emirates Diplomatic Academy’s distinguished lecture series that serves as a platform to share innovative international relations and diplomatic theory and best-practice with students from across the UAE’s government sector. Prominent speakers from across the world are periodically invited to the Academy to share insights on the multi-faceted nature of modern diplomacy.
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Emirates Diplomatic Academy joins organizations across UAE in marking Flag Day
03 November 2016, Thursday
Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s international relations and diplomacy academic, training, best-practice and research institution, today joined leading private and public sector organizations across the UAE in commemorating the annual Flag Day under the slogan ‘Raise it High, Raise if Proud’. Flag Day marks the anniversary of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s accession to office. The day is of particular significance to the country’s diplomatic community that conveys his vision of unity, progress and openness to the world at large in their capacity as the UAE’s ambassadors. Addressing the EDA staff, faculty and students, His Excellency Omar Al Bitar, Vice President of EDA, said: “We stand here today full of joy, pride and glory at the sustained progress we have made as a nation. At EDA, we are committed to supporting our leadership’s legacy of openness, tolerance and diversity and building bridges with various countries and people around the world.” “We must always reach for more, always persevere and always innovate to become the best we can be. We have a patriotic duty as diplomats to serve our nation with our hearts and our minds - diplomacy is a vocation whether at home, the work-place or in our daily life interactions”, he said. In the run-up to Flag Day, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, took to his widely popular social media platforms to urge the UAE citizens to convene at 11:00 am on November 3 to rejoice and celebrate the raising of the national flag – a symbol of the UAE’s glory, unification and national pride. UAE national Meera Al Azizi, an EDA student, said: “Every day, I count my blessings in being an Emirati. I extend my deepest appreciation to our leadership for making the UAE synonymous with innovation, peace and philanthropy. I’m privileged to be completing my education at EDA and look forward to serving my nation’s interests on the international stage.” “Celebrating UAE Flag Day is more than just a commemoration. Flag Day is a celebration of diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness, celebrating different nationalities peacefully living and working together, a spirit of unity that is hard to come by elsewhere in the world”, says Dr. Saskia van Genugten, a Senior Research Fellow at EDA from the Netherlands  
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Climate Change: At the core of 21st Century Diplomacy
31 October 2016, Monday
The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) jointly organised a training workshop on the upcoming UN climate change negotiations and the COP 22 process at the Academy, building on the leadership position the UAE has been taking on global climate change issues. The full-day event, which featured presentations delivered by experts from EDA and the Ministry, attracted close to 30 student participants and a dozen government stakeholders, all of which will be attending the next UN Climate Conference taking place in Marrakesh, Morocco, this November.The workshop was aimed at addressing the learning needs of UAE stakeholders who are involved in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of climate change negotiations, with particular emphasis on the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22). Student and youth delegates received special attention during the workshop, as this year the UAE will be sending a record number of youth to the annual UN Climate Change Conference.While the workshop’s morning session was intended for the UAE youth delegation, and covered UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) milestones, an introduction to the dynamics of the negotiating process, and an interactive discussion on the role of UAE youth at COP 22 also took place. The afternoon part of the training workshop was open to all UAE COP 22 stakeholders and provided participants with more insights on the COP 22 agenda items important to the UAE. This year, parties to the UNFCCC will meet from 7–18 November in Marrakesh to continue work on enabling the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which started in the intersessional meetings in May 2016 in Bonn. Owing to the unprecedented speed at which the Agreement was signed and ratified by a large number of countries, it will enter into force on 4 November. Marrakesh will therefore mark the first time when the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) will meet. The UAE was the first country in the GCC region to ratify the Paris Agreement in September and is well-positioned to participate in conversations ranging from review processes for countries’ climate action, capacity building, technology development and transfer, to financing.
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Baroness Catherine Ashton delivers ‘Is Diplomacy in Retreat?’ lecture at Emirates Diplomatic Academy
19 October 2016, Wednesday
Emirates Diplomatic Academy, the UAE’s international relations and diplomacy academic, training, best practice and research platform, welcomed the European Union's former High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and a previous European Trade Commissioner, Baroness Cathy Ashton to a class on ‘Is Diplomacy in Retreat?’ on Wednesday. Baroness Ashton drew on her significant experience at the forefront of international relations and as mediator and negotiator in many sensitive international issues to address the question of diplomacy in the modern world. She stressed that diplomacy and relationship building in a rapidly evolving world with new opportunities and challenges was more important than ever before. She added that a firm knowledge in decision making, policy implementation and the building of necessary diplomatic networks and alliances with new institutions, markets, technologies and ways of working is crucial in becoming a modern 21st century diplomat. The ‘21st Century Diplomacy’ course aims to give EDA students the tools, skills and approaches to best represent the UAE on the global stage and continue its international leadership position. Through these lectures, students hear from a number of high profile political and diplomatic speakers in wide-ranging and interactive sessions. Students have joined EDA from both, governmental and semi-governmental entities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Mubadala, coming from all seven Emirates. Ashton emphasized that preparing a new cadre of modern diplomats and thinkers is beneficial to the new role that UAE diplomats will need to play in building economic and political stability in the middle east and beyond. This is her second visit to the Academy since its establishment in 2014. The Academy’s Director General, Bernardino Leon, was pleased to welcome the accomplished British diplomat back to the EDA. After the lecture he said that “the EDA lecture series is an important part of our offering to our students here at EDA, allowing them to hear first-hand from some of the world’s leading diplomats, politicians and business people as we seek to create well-rounded diplomats for the 21st century who can serve the UAE in its foreign activities. Baroness Ashton’s experience is invaluable to the students given her central position in European and global statecraft over recent years and I thank her for taking the time to join us.’ The Academy next week marks the graduation of its first cohort of students with their diplomas in International Relations and UAE Diplomacy. Former Ambassador, Tom Fletcher, who is leading the course on 21st Century Diplomacy at the EDA said: 'It was excellent to welcome Baroness Ashton to the 21st Century Diplomacy class at EDA, where students are developing the skills they need to become great representatives of their country, able to play an influential role on the world stage. They benefit hugely from hearing practical examples of leading diplomats and role models, and so it was an excellent opportunity to hear from someone who has been at the centre of international statecraft over recent years.”
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His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan chairs fifth Board of Trustees meeting of Emirates Diplomatic Academy
16 October 2016, Sunday
His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), has reiterated that the Academy has moved into the next phase of its journey with the recent graduation of its first batch of Emirati national diplomats. He said: “EDA is the leading national institute for training and qualifying Emiratis and motivating them to become innovative diplomats. We are actively working to build the EDA into a regional and global knowledge reference in the field of diplomacy and international relations." He added: “The graduation of the first cohort of students reiterates EDA's commitment to achieving the vision of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to empower a new generation of UAE diplomats capable of serving the country on the international stage.” His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s comments came as part of his opening address at the fifth Board of Trustees meeting of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA). The meeting was attended by His Excellency Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Russia, and His Excellency Mohamed Issa Abushahab, Director of Policy Planning Department at the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Underlining the importance of maintaining the EDA's momentum as it continues on its mission, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan noted: “We take pride in the Academy’s role in qualifying our citizens in diplomacy so they can contribute to advancing the global prestige of the UAE through shaping its foreign policy and building bridges of cooperation with other countries.” “Sustained diplomatic collaboration is the cornerstone of the UAE’s approach towards finding solutions to global issues. Such an inclusive approach is the best guarantor of international peace and security, helps drive sustainable development and allows us to tackle challenges such as poverty and extremism.” As part of the Board of Trustees meeting, Bernardino Leon, Director General of EDA, presented the EDA’s work plan for the upcoming academic year. Leon said the Academy’s success during the last scholastic year will be used to further develop its work in offering students the skills and expertise they need to play a constructive role in the UAE's diplomatic efforts worldwide. He added that the EDA’s programs and leading research capabilities allow it to empower and qualify diplomats with best-in-class skills and training. Leon also noted that the first cohort of graduates helped develop the Academy and was an integral part of the overall project to build this educational institute last year. The Emirates Diplomatic Academy has lately graduated its first cohort of students. Their training and education programs included lectures, discussions and meetings with global and regional decision makers, as well as case studies and models on a wide range of general and specialized topics focused on diplomacy, including diplomacy for the 21st century, sustainable development and climate change, peaceful use of nuclear energy, renewable energy, and issues pertaining to regional and global peace and security. The EDA Board of Trustees also discussed a number of items related to the first cohort of graduates, as well as their potential role in the UAE diplomatic landscape. Preparations to receive the new cohort for the academic year 2016-2017 were also reviewed, including the new Master’s program that EDA aims to launch during the next academic year. The meeting agenda included discussions on the progress of administrative and academic affairs, developing cooperation with academic institutes focused on diplomacy and international relations worldwide, and the first meeting with members of EDA’s Advisory Board. The meeting also covered EDA’s corporate development and its proposed structure, in addition to reviewing the recommendations of the Board of Trustees during its fourth meeting and the steps that have been taken in this regard.  
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His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Graduates First Class of EDA Students in the Memory of Saif bin Ghobash
12 October 2016, Wednesday
His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, graduated the first cohort of students from the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) today, naming them the ‘Saif bin Ghobash Cohort 2016’ in the memory of the first UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Saif Saeed Ghobash. Saif bin Ghobash, the first UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs is one of the founders of the UAE’s early, outward facing, cooperative foreign policy as a politician and as a diplomat. He has become a symbol of the country’s approach to the world. His Highness Sheikh Abdullah made the announcement at the EDA graduation ceremony that took place at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and was attended by His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Academy Board of Trustees member His Excellency Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, H.E Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, H.E Shamma Al Mazroui, UAE Minister of Youth and Board of Trustee member, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and other official dignitaries. The EDA is the nation’s international relations and diplomacy academic, training, best practice and research institution. Fifty students received their Post-Graduate Diploma in International Relations, symbolising a major milestone not just for the Academy, but for the development and practice of diplomacy and international relations in the UAE. In addition, eighteen students received special recognition for the successful completion of ‘Capstone’ research projects focusing on social, political and economic aspects of the UAE’s foreign relations. In his remarks, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah said: “First, I would like to extend our greatest appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, whose vision, efforts, wisdom and affection towards this nation have been instrumental in enabling and empowering our continued drive to build on the legacy left to us by our Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.” His Highness said: “I would like to thank the Academy team, its faculty and administration for all the efforts they have exerted to increase your capabilities and knowledge. His Highness dedicated the EDA 2016 cohort of graduates in the memory of Saif bin Gobash in recognition of his contribution to diplomacy in the UAE; urging the students to find in his generosity, sacrifice and love of the nation an inspiration and noble example. He added: “I also hope that you honour your families with the knowledge that whatever we give to our nation will always fall short; but what is important is that we continue to try which is where your journey begins and I hope through you, we will have a stronger Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” EDA graduates come from both government and semi-governmental entities including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the Crown Prince Court in Abu Dhabi, as well as Dubai Media Office and Mubadala. During his remarks, EDA’s Director General, Bernardino Leon, said that the establishment of the Academy is a tangible reflection of the UAE’s exceptional approach to addressing global challenges and identifying new opportunities for collaboration. “The UAE leadership has a unique approach to diplomacy that is cosmopolitan and Arab, international and local, traditional and innovative. The UAE has a pioneering spirit of reform and innovation. It is proud of its origins and confident in its future. To me, what differentiates the UAE from all others is its spirit of collaboration, of unity, of pride in heritage and history,” he said He added: “I would like to thank the Academy team and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for their efforts. But I would especially like to thank our esteemed Board of Trustees, including His Highness Sheikh Abdullah, our Chairman, His Excellency Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, who played a pivotal role in the establishment of this Academy.” H.E Omar bin Saif Gobash, UAE Ambassador to Russia, who is also a member of the EDA Board of Trustees said: “My family and I were deeply honoured by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed's announcement that the 2016 graduates of the EDA would be known as the Saif Ghobash Class. We will always be grateful for the consideration given to the memory of our father. A very moving tribute for us all.” Also present at the graduation ceremony were His Excellency Ahmed Juma’a Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs, as well as Board of Trustee members His Excellency Ali Mohammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary General at the Supreme National Security Council, His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash, Ambassador of the UAE to the Russian Federation, and His Excellency Mohamed Issa Abushahab, Director of Policy Planning Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Omar Al Bitar, EDA Deputy Director General and UAE former Ambassador to China.
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Emirates Diplomatic Academy commences new academic year with student orientation
26 August 2016, Friday
The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s international relations and diplomacy academic, training, best practice and research platform, today welcomed its second cohort of students. Over 50 new entrants attended the first of two days of orientation at the Academy campus. These students follow in the footsteps of many great UAE diplomats and the country’s strong tradition of diplomacy in the UAE which has seen UAE achieve a truly significant influence on the global stage. The orientation included an introduction to the Academy departments as well as its executive education and research and analyses teams in preparation for their Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations and UAE Diplomacy. The diploma will equip aspiring national representatives with a greater armory of tools, options and insights to ensure they are ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century as the country’s top diplomats and representatives in multiple sectors. Deputy Director General keynote address Welcoming the students, recently appointed Deputy Director General, His Excellency, Omar Al Bitar emphasized, ‘the Academy is an institution that plays a pivotal role in nurturing a generation that will be tasked with enhancing international connectivity to ensure we are fit to face the challenges of our times. As the Academy moves into its second year, we are working to continually improve our offerings to give our diplomats what they need to succeed.’ He continued: “Diplomacy is the sharp end of foreign policy and is more than just theory but a true profession - a skill, an art and a behavior which reflects our standing in the world and our effectiveness in getting things done. Diplomats and soldiers are two sides of the same coin, representing and working for our country on the front line, although in very different ways. It is a practice continually learned and honed in different environments, whether by an aspiring diplomat or a seasoned government official. The Academy stands front and centre in ensuring we are all as good as we can be in a profession which is all-encompassing; a true vocation for life.’Al Bitar added: “In light of emerging global challenges and opportunities, it is vital that the next generation of UAE diplomats learns how to engage with an increasingly fast paced and uncertain world, and masters the tools to further UAE’s national interests.” This year will mark the beginning of new courses, including “Preparing for 21st Century Diplomacy”, covering new trends in diplomatic practice such as the use of digital tools, the Academy’s flagship new module to be taught by former UK Ambassador Tom Fletcher, a renowned international diplomat and leading academic. A further addition this year will be an innovative new course, ‘Modern Leadership and Ethics’, taught by the Deputy Director General. A course taught only at the world’s most elite institutions, it will tackle the sometimes difficult balance between decisive action and ethics while also emphasizing how the best leaders will always keep ethics at the forefront of their decisions. Another key course will be spearheaded by Bernardino Leon, Director General of EDA and former UN diplomat who will pass over his experience of working with the top echelons of global diplomacy and multinational organisations. Additional courses as part of the diploma will bring together pioneering new diplomatic approaches and global best practices to the classroom which were a great success in last year’s courses. These courses will aim to strike the balance between teaching students’ theories and practice of international relations, security and conflict resolution, political economy, UAE history and culture, international law, foreign policy and contemporary politics of Middle East. Student testimonials and quotes Student Asma Hassan AlHammadi, looking forward to the course said, ‘It is really exciting to be able to learn from some of the world’s leading diplomats and thinkers on international relations as we prepare to represent the UAE abroad. I am looking forward to developing my skills and applying them in practice.’ Another new student Saud Salman Al Suwaidi said, ‘this is such an important time for diplomacy with new trade agreements to support the UAE’s hyper growth industries and areas of expertise, the UAE taking leadership positions on key global issues, the emergence of new regional powers, ongoing shifts in the global economy, social reform agendas and civil strife, threats to global institutions, rapidly developing technologies, the impact of climate change, the threat of global extremism, vast population growth and movements and the increased power of global corporations. I am excited by the opportunity to learn more theory and practice to make a difference on behalf of the UAE on the world stage in these debates.’
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Emirates Diplomatic Academy greets the Academic Year with new courses for the next generation of UAE diplomats
26 August 2016, Friday
The United Arab Emirates is a comparatively small country. Yet the nation has secured itself a prominent place on the world map thanks to a continuous positive, open and outward facing approach to the world coupled with a leadership role on global issues and challenges. UAE diplomats abroad have been the backbone to these efforts, helping the UAE achieve a truly significant influence on the global stage. The UAE’s position in the world rests on a few key pillars: its international connectivity and farsighted outlook, as well as political and commercial partnerships. The UAE’s ability to prepare for and embrace the future has always been a national trademark, and it is now at work to train the next generation of diplomats and future, well-rounded leaders, in a fast-changing world. A core plank of this is Emirates Diplomatic Academy. The national international relations and diplomatic teaching, training and research institution and platform, has just launched a new, comprehensive curriculum for the next 2016/17 academic year with over 50 students starting their courses later this month. It will help equip aspiring national representatives with a greater armory of tools, options and insights to ensure they are ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century as the country’s leaders and representatives in multiple sectors. New courses for a new era: embracing 21st century diplomacy “Preparing for 21st Century Diplomacy”, the Academy’s flagship new module to be taught by Tom Fletcher, a renowned international diplomat and leading academic, sets the symbolic tone for the whole critical thinking and analysis themed curriculum of the diploma. As a newly appointed Senior Adviser to the EDA’s Director General Bernardino Leon, Fletcher will educate students on both time tested and the latest, most innovative diplomatic approaches, including looking at way they can be joined-up and integrated to create a modern, all-round approach to diplomatic theory and practice. The course will be split in three parts covering the topics of ‘Communicating with Power’, ‘The Future of Diplomacy’ and ‘What Makes a Great 21st Century Diplomat?’ with a particular emphasis on the role of digital communications and tools. “Reconciling age old diplomatic practices with digital tactics – the most powerful form of communication in today’s 24/7 world – is crucial in ensuring diplomats are both well-equipped and able to talk and engage with multiple people and organisations in relevant ways. I hope that the students will be able to work with this approach, and come up with new and more personalised ways to apply these teachings to their future careers. At the end of the day, it is these bright UAE nationals that will be on the frontlines of national representation and amplify UAE’s long standing tradition of global leadership,” said Tom Fletcher. A dynamic group of world-class professors and experts in the field will bring further rigour to UAE’s most ambitious academic institution through not just lectures but practical training, simulations, guest speakers, language courses and even undertaking a detailed ‘capstone’ research project into a relevant diplomatic and international relations subject of their choice. Addressing the critical problems of our time through recommendations, these projects bring not only academic reward but also in depth insight and value add to the UAE with the best each year given a high profile prize and the opportunity for further research. A further addition this year will be an innovative new course, ‘Modern Leadership and Ethics’. A course taught only at the world’s most elite institutions, it will tackle the sometimes difficult balance between decisive action and ethics while also empahsising how the best leaders will always keep ethics as at the forefront of their decisions, a virtue reflected in the great leaders throughout history. Ethical decision making ensures effective leadership that has people’s trust, loyalty and reflects the credibility, sustainability and long-term thinking of the decision maker, making them more effective and influential in the process. Another key course will be spearheaded by Bernardino Leon, Director General of EDA and former UN diplomat who will pass over his experience of working with the top echelons of global diplomacy and multinational organisations. Additional courses as part of the diploma will bring together pioneering new diplomatic approaches and global best practices to the classroom which were a great success in last year’s courses. These courses will aim to strike the balance between teaching students theories and practice of international relations, security and conflict resolution, political economy, UAE history and culture, international law, foreign policy and contemporary politics of Middle East. Student Asma Hassan AlHammadi, looking forward to the course said, ‘It is really exciting to be able to learn from some of the world’s leading diplomats and thinkers on international relations as we prepare to represent the UAE abroad. I am looking forward to developing my skills and applying them in practice.’ Upskilling: courses for seasoned UAE government officials In line with its commitment to support senior officials from across government and its ministries, the Academy will also offer new executive training courses which are shorter and targeted at seasoned professionals who already have expertise in representing the nation at home and abroad. The Executive Education Department at the EDA also offers specific courses that teach a range of hard and soft skills pertinent to an employee’s career success. Soft skills courses will focus on work ethic, attitude, communication skills and emotional intelligence, while hard skills programmes will encompass technical abilities required to successfully complete a task, and include logical, analytical and strategic thinking and planning. Ahmed Saeed Al Neyadi who has taken place in these courses before said, ‘They say that you never stop learning in the university of life and that could not be truer in the areas in which we work, especially in a dynamic and international country like the UAE. These courses at the Academy are incredibly useful to ensure we remain at the top of our game and incorporate new thinking and approaches into our everyday work and I look forward to this year’s agenda.’ These courses will be available throughout July to November, 2016. Looking to the UAE’s future: diplomats of tomorrow To maintain the UAE’s reputation as a global powerhouse for diplomacy and international cooperation, the country must first look inwards to its own people. It is only by educating, arming, and empowering the UAE population with innovative tools and approaches to convey the UAE’s collaborative spirit and combat increasing global issues, that the country will maintain, and grow, its prosperity and well-being. The list of evolving opportunities and challenges is endless: new trade agreements to support the UAE’s hyper growth industries and areas of expertise, the UAE taking leadership positions on key global issues, the emergence of new regional powers, ongoing shifts in the global economy, social reform agendas and civil strife, threats to global institutions, rapidly developing technologies, the impact of climate change, the threat of global extremism, vast population growth and movements and the increased power of global corporations. A time for a new generation to contribute to the UAE’s Foreign Service has come. It is a national responsibility to pioneer new approaches to global issues and help the potential candidates become the faces of UAE on the world stage through giving them the skills, the insights and the tools to be highly effective modern diplomats; the change makers of tomorrow. And Emirates Diplomatic Academy is taking on the mandate to elevate the art of diplomacy to new heights and nuture the energies and talent of the diplomats of tomorrow in the national interest.
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EDA Launches Insight Video Exploring Paris Agreement Opportunities for the GCC
17 August 2016, Wednesday
The Emirates Diplomatic Academy has launched its EDA Insight video series with a short interview with the author of the EDA Insight titled ‘Operationalising and Implementing the Paris Agreement: Issues of Interest for the GCC Countries’. The video explores what has happened after the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, what countries should do next and how the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can engage. Please note that the views expressed in this video are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, an autonomous federal entity, or of the UAE Government. Download in English: Download in Arabic:
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Emirates Diplomatic Academy appoints Ambassador Omar al Bitar as new Vice President
15 August 2016, Monday
The appointment of former Ambassador to China as Deputy Director General at EDA, brings practical experience to assist in the implementation of academic programs and research, aiming at preparing UAE diplomats to meet future challenges. Appointment also strengthens Academy’s focus on development of UAE-Asian relations and preparing diplomats to engage in the region Abu Dhabi, August X, 2016: UAE’s former Ambassador to China, retired Major General Omar al Bitar, has been appointed Deputy Director General of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s international relations training, academic best practice and research platform. Al Bitar will assist the academy’s multiple work streams. These include academic courses on UAE diplomacy and international relations to ensure students have the latest skills and tools to be effective modern diplomats, specific executive education training programs and a research function, which acts as a think-tank on new and innovative diplomatic approaches to the world’s most pressing issues. The new Deputy Director General brings a strong academic legacy and approach to EDA having overseen the development of new military education, leadership and career development structures during his time in the Armed Forces. He was also instrumental in setting up the Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, including project management, developing the courses, gaining accreditation, building a business plan and attracting students internationally. Emirates Diplomatic Academy Director General Bernardino Leon said: “Major General Omar al Bitar will be a great asset to the work and future direction of the Academy given his academic background as we are about to welcome our second cohort of students in late August. He has also developed a unique take on diplomacy which will offer a much needed holistic approach to our diplomats. “In the modern world of diplomacy and international relations, there is a need to work with multiple actors from all corners of the political and business world and his wide ranging experience will bring unique insight and perspective as we develop our courses and thinking built on his track record of success.” Al Bitar is an experienced diplomat with a rich military and academic background. He has developed a specific approach to diplomacy and relationship building which looks at the role of strategy, foreign policy and diplomacy as guiding frameworks and delivery tools for diplomats to achieve effective results in the pursuit of the national interest. Al Bitar said: “Diplomats and soldiers are two sides of the same coin, representing and working for our country on the front-line. Although they operate in a different manner, their actions complement each other. Similar to the development requirements of any highly specialized profession, diplomacy needs continuous innovative education and training programs to enhance the diplomatic performing skills. While diplomacy is considered an art and a behavior it is the sharp edge of foreign policy and reflects our standing in the world. The Emirates Diplomatic Academy truly is a national asset that focuses on building on our national strengths in diplomacy and international connectivity to ensure we are fit to face the challenges and opportunities of the future.” “The UAE’s success has been built on our openness to international collaborations in commercial, security, academic, cultural and philanthropic areas. We need to ensure we are ready to face both the opportunities of emerging global trends, including new economic, political and social reform agendas, new technologies and new trading relationships as well as the threats to global institutions, regional and global civil strife, the impact of climate change, the threat of global extremism and vast population growth and movements.” He added: “In view of the challenges the world will be facing in the future, we believe that achieving global security and prosperity will require an intensification of global collaboration.” During his time as the UAE’s Ambassador to China, Al Bitar oversaw the development of the UAE as a major trading and investment partner with China. Building on this most recent assignment, he will also focus on the development of the Academy’s efforts towards UAE-Asian relations in terms of identifying new cooperation opportunities and finding fresh approaches to engaging in the region. In recent years, the UAE has emerged as a major player in the growth of the new Silk Road and the south-south corridor, at the heart of a Middle East, Africa and South Asian region predicted to be worth $10 trillion by 2020. Before becoming Ambassador to China, he was Commander of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College in Al Ain, a Director of Information at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, focusing on regional security issues, and Vice President of the Paris-Sorbonne University-Abu Dhabi. The Emirates Diplomatic Academy supports the UAE government and its departments, including the UAE missions abroad, by training employees and diplomats on relationship building and offering strategic advice on key issues and trends.
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