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.