Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: Emirates Diplomatic Academy, today announced the appointment of Bernardino León as the first Director General of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s leading centre of excellence in diplomatic studies. Mr. Leon, will take up his position in December, 2015.
A career diplomat with rich international experience spanning more than 25 years, Mr. Leon’s most recent role was as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Libya, a position he has held for the past year.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of EDA, said: “The Emirates Diplomatic Academy serves the important role of providing world-class training, research and intellectual leadership for our future diplomats. The deep experience and understanding of global geo-politics that Mr. León brings to EDA will be a rich resource for our new generation of diplomats.
“The UAE’s diplomatic corps are the pillars of our international engagement, upholding our interests and promoting our leadership’s vision at global platforms. Developing the next generation of Emirati diplomatic talents is central to supporting our foreign policy objectives and in ensuring that our nation’s voice is heard as we pursue our outlook of promoting regional peace and stability.”
A Spanish national, Mr. León has a deep understanding of global politics, diplomacy and foreign affairs. He has worked extensively in the Middle East, playing a major role in the European Union team that followed up and supported the Taba talks as well as the Hebron, Wye River, Camp David and Shepherdstown Accords.
He was actively involved in the Geneva Agreement, and has served in Spanish Diplomatic Services at the recently created European External Action Service in the United Nations and other international centres. He has worked widely in political and economic affairs, especially as a G20 Sherpa, and has contributed significantly to cultural diplomacy.
As Director General, Mr. León will work with EDA’s Board of Trustees to establish the strategic direction of the Academy as a global thought leader in diplomatic studies. He will lead the international faculty of experts at EDA in ensuring the highest standards in diplomatic education and competency to create the new generation of Emirati diplomats that the Academy nurtures. The appointment will also help enhance EDA’s status as an elite diplomatic institution that provides vital policy direction and insights on contemporary regional and global issues.
Speaking about his new role, Mr. León said: “I am delighted to take up this new position and look forward to engaging with the young Emirati nationals and working with the seasoned faculty, training and research teams to establish EDA as a referral point in diplomatic studies. EDA is truly a path-breaking initiative by the UAE Government to nurture the next generation of diplomatic and foreign relations professionals. It’s unique world-class academic and research platform is built on course offerings and research themes that match the UAE’s growing prominence in regional and international affairs.”
Emphasizing EDA’s crucial role in developing the country’s future diplomatic corps and foreign policy thought leadership, Mr. León said: “The Academy shapes a dedicated talent pool of young professionals who can enter diplomatic careers with an insightful world view of politics and foreign affairs. Such a forward-looking training initiative will further enable the UAE to achieve even more significant successes in its international relations.”
During his distinguished diplomatic career, Mr. León has been in active engagement with governments and diverse stakeholders in Europe, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Tunisia, among others. His sphere of influence has covered economic diplomacy, intercultural dialogue, security, energy and migration.
Mr. León conducted crucial negotiations in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia promoting Arab values and underpinning the need for tolerance and cultural understanding. His abiding respect for Arab values and fostering intercultural dialogue was instrumental in the launch of the Vienna Centre for Dialogue between Religions and the foundation of Three Cultures, a Moroccan-Spanish Centre.
Mr. León holds a diploma in International Relations from the University of Barcelona and a Degree in Law from the University of Malaga, Spain. He is the author and translator of several books, lectures at universities around the world and has won over 20 international awards for his diplomacy work.