Six senior diplomats from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, posted at different embassies across Europe, finished the first fully online diplomatic course on July 2nd, 2020. Since 2012 this programme has yearly been organised in the Hague. This year, we were able to transform a two-week physical training programme into an online course spread over four consecutive weeks.
Even from behind a computer or tablet, participants engaged in interactive sessions, workshops and self-study assignments. Central to the training was strengthening participants’ strategic policy planning techniques. Simultaneously, the online format offered the group the opportunity to get acquainted with a broad spectrum of e-diplomacy tools.
Building strategic competence
Different stages in the policy-making circle were used as building blocks for this programme, linked to several strategic tools such as; stakeholder analysis, SWOT analysis and scenario-building. The latter included a multi-day group exercise, where participants first defined driving forces and key uncertainties that served as the basis for identifying four future scenarios. Ultimately, the groups presented their scenarios and action plans, explaining potential future developments in Afghanistan in 2030. The outcomes can be used to navigate strategic uncertainty, anticipate change and help guide towards desired outcomes.
We do hope to welcome this excellent delegation in the future at the Clingendael Academy, but we are glad that we had the honour to sustain our relation with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the ability to provide the training programme in these rare circumstances.