Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s international relations and diplomacy academic, training, best practice and research platform, today welcomed its second cohort of students. Over 50 new entrants attended the first of two days of orientation at the Academy campus. These students follow in the footsteps of many great UAE diplomats and the country’s strong tradition of diplomacy in the UAE which has seen UAE achieve a truly significant influence on the global stage.

The orientation included an introduction to the Academy departments as well as its executive education and research and analyses teams in preparation for their Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations and UAE Diplomacy.

The diploma will 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 top diplomats and representatives in multiple sectors.

Deputy Director General keynote address

Welcoming the students, recently appointed Deputy Director General, His Excellency, Omar Al Bitar
emphasized, ‘the Academy is an institution that plays a pivotal role in nurturing a generation that will be tasked with enhancing international connectivity to ensure we are fit to face the challenges of our times. As the Academy moves into its second year, we are working to continually improve our offerings to give our diplomats what they need to succeed.’

He continued: “Diplomacy is the sharp end of foreign policy and is more than just theory but a true profession – a skill, an art and a behavior which reflects our standing in the world and our effectiveness in getting things done. Diplomats and soldiers are two sides of the same coin, representing and working for our country on the front line, although in very different ways. It is a practice continually learned and honed in different environments, whether by an aspiring diplomat or a seasoned government official. The Academy stands front and centre in ensuring we are all as good as we can be in a profession which is all-encompassing; a true vocation for life.’
Al Bitar added: “In light of emerging global challenges and opportunities, it is vital that the next generation of UAE diplomats learns how to engage with an increasingly fast paced and uncertain world, and masters the tools to further UAE’s national interests.”

This year will mark the beginning of new courses, including “Preparing for 21st Century Diplomacy”, covering new trends in diplomatic practice such as the use of digital tools, the Academy’s flagship new module to be taught by former UK Ambassador Tom Fletcher, a renowned international diplomat and leading academic.

A further addition this year will be an innovative new course, ‘Modern Leadership and Ethics’, taught by the Deputy Director General. 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 emphasizing how the best leaders will always keep ethics at the forefront of their decisions.

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 testimonials and quotes

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.’

Another new student Saud Salam Al Suwaidi said, ‘this is such an important time for diplomacy with 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. I am excited by the opportunity to learn more theory and practice to make a difference on behalf of the UAE on the world stage in these debates.’