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.