Clingendael in the UAE: Foreign Policy Training
23 Feb 2016 - 21:47
Source: © Clingendael Institute 2016

Two teams of Clingendael Trainers set off for Abu Dhabi to provide trainings for the recently established Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) in two essential skills sets for respectively junior and senior diplomats:

  • Diplomatic Writing Skills
  • Strategic Thinking and Scenario Building.

Diplomatic Writing

The Diplomatic Writing training was provided for EDA’s post-Graduate Diploma Programme in UAE Diplomacy and International Relations. This is a one year academic programme designed for over 50 junior level diplomats from the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In this era of globalization and high speed communication, it is even more crucial for diplomats to write quickly, clearly, and concisely with realistic policy recommendations about a variety of international developments and changes. The Clingendael trainers therefore engaged the participants through a variety of interactive workshops which not only focused on the words and ideas delivered on paper, but also on how they are interpreted and delivered verbally by their readers:

  • Writing policy memo’s;
  • Presenting policy recommendations to colleagues;
  • Preparing Talking Points for superiors;
  • Writing and Delivering Short Speeches.

In all these formats trainers therefore reiterated the importance of:

  • Setting a specific goal to achieve through the writing (compass);
  • Formulating relevant questions needed to focus and achieve set goals (microscope);
  • Offering realistic policy options and recommendations.

By using this structure, diplomats can more easily funnel and structure their thoughts about complex developments on paper. This helps them to provide their superiors in either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or in a diplomatic posting with relevant facts and clear options to make an informed foreign policy decision.

Strategic Thinking and Scenario Building

The training in strategic thinking and scenario-building is part of the Executive Education programme, which included some 20 senior participants, some of them being department heads and incumbent ambassadors).

Strategic planning and scenario-building deals with methods and processes that help a Foreign Ministry analyse the external environment in an unconventional way. The ultimate aim is to arrive at conscious decided policy actions through a rigorous process of scrutiny and debate.

Like the training in diplomatic writing, this training was highly interactive and did not only build upon the insights of the trainers, but particularly on the expertise and experience of the participants themselves.

Clingendael trainers presented tools and models to reflect on both current and future foreign policy of the UAE such as scenario building, SWOT analysis and action-planning. Participants were encouraged to think together both creatively and strategically about the UAE’s foreign policy in 10 years from now, and to give each other feedback.

By analysing several possible futures, as well as by reflecting on the functioning of the Ministry, the participants used these tools to formulate and prioritise strategic foreign policy options for the UAE in the 10 years to come.

Eight tailor-made trainings

Clingendael is offering a total of eight tailor-made skills trainings for the EDA. The two trainings described above illustrate a small part of Clingendael’s broader diplomatic training curriculum. If you would like to know more about Clingendael’s other tailor-made diplomatic training programmes or it capacity building programmes, feel free to contact Mr Hans Wurzer or Dr. Marianne Rogier.

If you want to know more about strategic planning and scenario building trainings offered by Clingendael, be sure to contact Mr Bart Hogeveen or Ms. Evelien Borgman.