Dr. Seppe Verheyen

Chief of Staff at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy

Dr Seppe Verheyen is the Chief of Staff at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy. In this role, he acts as an advisor to the Director-General, facilitates effective decision-making and develop, manage and execute strategic initiatives related to diplomacy, international relations and policy design alongside the executive leadership of the EDA. His work also involves establishing collaborative programs with a range of partners in the global diplomatic ecosystem and contributing to the development and growth of the Emirati diplomats.

Since joining the EDA, Dr. Verheyen has played a key role in establishing the institution as a strong player in the local and global diplomatic ecosystem through various initiatives. These initiatives include the Future Diplomats Peace game; a 2-day negotiation simulation with representatives of 20+ countries organized together with Foreign Policy Group, the Diplomatic Leadership in the 21st-century course, a 10-day training program with INSEAD and as well as a Model UN training program for high-school students in coordination with the UAE Ministry of Education.

Dr Verheyen is an established thought leader on diplomatic skillsets and regularly conducts workshops and skill training on various topics including negotiation, mediation, digital diplomacy, public diplomacy, diplomatic communication, networking, project management and team building. He is also an innovation enthusiast and contributes on ideas on how technology, such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Blockchain, informs and evolves the diplomatic practice.

Before joining EDA, Dr Verheyen worked at the American University in the Emirates as Director of the Master of Arts in Diplomacy and was the Director of the International Office. In this dual role, Dr Verheyen imparted the theoretical and practical knowledge to Emirati students to enhance their diplomatic skills. He also played an active role in setting up international and local partnerships to increase the university’s profile.

Dr Verheyen is a Fulbright scholar and received his PhD from the prestigious Trinity College Dublin, Ireland on the thesis titled, “The Available Voter” that explored country-level and individual-level factors influencing the decision-making process of the undecided voters. Prior to his PhD, Dr Verheyen, an European Bernheim trainee alumnus, worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Belgian Permanent Representation to the EU as an Advisor. He was involved in drafting EU foreign policies and represented Belgium at the EU forum.

Dr Verheyen has consulted political parties in Belgium and Ireland on policies and is a frequent speaker at conferences, covering topics in Diplomacy, Smart Cities, Leadership and Skills Training.