In November 2020, 24 junior diplomats from 18 different states in Latin America and the Caribbean completed the training programme: ‘Enabling Closer Cooperation’ in an online setting. The active participation of the diplomats in the intensive four-week programme contributed to a satisfying outcome. All participants returned to their digital offices with a plan to foster regional cooperation and they managed to get to know their regional colleagues better despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 crisis.
Using digital tools to advance regional cooperation
As the worldwide pandemic continues, work processes are getting more and more adjusted to lockdowns and other measures to protect public health. Working in an online format is nowadays not solely seen as an obstacle anymore, as one participant mentioned:
"The quality of the course was not in any way compromised by the modality of distance learning, even though we were only virtually connected to Dutch culture and institutions."
The main objective of the programme was to find ways in which diplomats can increase regional cooperation. Under this heading close attention was paid to topics relevant to both the regional and international arena, varying from:
- Diplomatic skills in the 21st century;
- Economic diplomacy;
- Sustainable development;
- International security;
- Regional & international organizations.
By following training sessions aimed at, among others, improving the digital ‘toolbox’ of diplomats and providing insights in global health diplomacy, the participants acquired both skills and knowledge helpful to improve regional cooperation in an online setting.