Capacity Building for Diplomatic Academies Central Asia and Mongolia
31 Mar 2015 - 17:55

Last week, diplomats of the Diplomatic Academies from the Central Asian Republics and Mongolia followed a capacity building programme at the Clingendael Academy. The overall goal of this type of capacity building programs is to strengthen the staff of Foreign Service Academies (FSAs) and institutionally further develop their academies. More specifically, it is aimed at assessing the training needs for diplomats and to design adapted training curricula, including appropriate interactive training methods to respond to these needs. The staff is trained in how to improve the design of tailor-made training programs, be aware on the importance of new diplomatic skills trainings as an integral part of the diplomatic training curriculum, and to help the trainers develop and implement interactive exercises adapted to the needs of diplomats.

Diplomacy Anno 2015

New trends in international relations and affairs have emerged during the last decades. These changes have a profound impact on the ways diplomacy is conducted. What does diplomacy mean in the 21st century? To what new challenges should diplomats be prepared to respond? What essential tools and skills do diplomats today need in order to effectively operate in the international arena? Examples include the impact of the role of non-state actors in diplomacy, the changing communication with civil society, the move from traditional to virtual diplomacy, and the changing relationship between MFAs and other ministries. Diplomatic trainings have to take into account recent evolutions and integrate them in professional and adapted training programs. Diplomatic academies have to be prepared to respond to these new training demands.

Tools to move forward

After answering the questions above, various trainings in this capacity building program gave tools to identify how to respond to these needs. Not only did the participants learn how to conduct network and SWOT analyses, they also learned how to incorporate such exercises in their curricula. Different methods for designing curricula were discussed, as well as the importance to assess and communicate learning goals to teachers and students. In such a small and experienced group, discussing these developments and methods gave new insights in how the different academies responded to this, and enabled the sharing of best practices and valuable insights.

Getting to concrete actions

At the end of the week, participants had to formulate a Back Home Action Plan, in which they were asked to prepare a set of recommendations on the further development of their academies as well as on the improvement of their curricula. During the presentations of these plans, we learned that many of the goals set at the end of the previous edition of this programme (September 2014), were being implemented or had already been successfully implemented. For example, one of the participating countries had been able to introduce a thorough needs-assessment on the design of curricula for junior diplomats, while often discussing new developments in international affairs during the year between the Academy and the MFA, and incorporating elements in their curricula accordingly. Another participating country had been able to successfully introduce courses on new subjects in its curricula, and introduced an evaluations system for its teachers and courses.  At the end of this year’s training, again new ambitious but realistic goals were set for the future. One participant proposed to improve the communication and presentation skills of his academies trainers, as well as to include such trainings in their curricula. Another proposed to include more interactive training sessions in their curricula, by introducing new negotiation simulations and public communication trainings.

Over 400 Clingendael Alumni from Central Asia and Mongolia

This was the third edition of the capacity building programs Clingendael has organized for this region, being part of a much longer and valuable relationship. Since the 1990s, Clingendael has trained over 400 diplomats from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia. The Clingendael Academy has been involved for many years in developing and supporting diplomatic academies in the world, including from Bulgaria, Kosovo, Indonesia, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the DRC and Tunisia.

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            Group photo in front of the Clingendael Institute

31 March 2015