Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: 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.