Diplomatic training

In 2019 Clingendael delivered a total of 35 training projects, most of them at Clingendael for diplomats from more than 60 countries, but also abroad, for example in Indonesia and South Africa.

Sharpening strategic planning skills for senior diplomats to the Organisation of American States

Clingendael contributes to the strategic plans of the OAS by providing training for 15 senior diplomats in the different frameworks used in strategic planning. This new cooperation started in 2019 and is expected to continue to 2022. Using practical exercises and group assignments, participants work on analysing current strengths and weaknesses of the organisation, while at the same time defining the threats that need to be mitigated and the opportunities to be seized.

Participants also gain forecasting skills relevant to the future of the OAS by formulating different future scenarios, partly using Moonshot methodology and action plans. Participants return home with concrete ideas to prepare OAS for the future.

Training a group of Senior Diplomats from the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Courses for diplomats from the MENA region

Clingendael started training diplomats from the MENA region in 2012 in the immediate wake of the Arab Spring. In that first edition only a handful of countries participated. In 2019 we organised the 15th and 16th editions. Participants now come from almost every country in the region as well regional bodies such as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States. The course combines broad themes in diplomacy with content specific to the region and skills relevant to its diplomats. It also fosters intraregional cooperation by having participants train and experience the Netherlands as one group. The course has become a mainstay of our diplomatic training programme (financed by the Netherlands MFA) and it is unique to see diplomats from countries such as Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt and the GCC working and learning together!

Personal effectiveness

Achieving objectives in a charged environment: difficult return negotiations

A mission to obtain travel documentation from a hostile third-country diplomat or the need to convince a migrant who has exhausted all appeal procedures to opt for voluntary return: negotiation challenges abound in the field of migration.

That is why more than 60 migration officials from 20 different EU Member States came to Clingendael in 2019 to hone their skills. The challenge? Tackling half a dozen simulations of mounting complexity tailored to their specific working contexts: from bilateral intercultural exchanges with testy ambassadors, brought to life by professional actors, to tense multilateral free-text negotiations.

At the end of the three training days the participants reflected on the lessons learned from the trainers, the actors and each other. The most widely heard comment was: “We should have done this training a long time ago.”

Intercultural effectiveness for national supervisory authorities

Working in an international environment requires flexibility and understanding, without losing track of the goals that need to be achieved. Many people working for national supervisory authorities face this challenge on a daily basis as a result of having to navigate the maze of EU networks, being a member of a European Joint Supervising Team or attending multilateral meetings. Trainings in intercultural communication and multilateral meetings contribute to increased effectiveness in these dynamic environments. The guiding principle in these trainings is the ABC model: heightened Awareness, flexibility in Behaviour and expanded culture-specific knowledge (Cognition).

In 2019 Clingendael successfully implemented multiple trainings for various national authorities, such as the Deutsche Bundesbank and the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets.

Institutional development

Capacity-building on international crisis management

Suddenly, the nation’s cell phone network goes down. Businesses grind to a halt, people are unable to reach emergency services and a government response proves hard to coordinate. Before you can even investigate, people online are spreading wild rumours and a terrorist group is claiming responsibility. A hacking group with links to a neighbouring country is also suspected. But what could they hope to gain?

Interagency experts explored these and other crisis scenarios in a set of workshops for Georgia’s Defense Institution Building School (DIBS) and were coached by Clingendael in developing their own. Convincing news items, social media posts and ticking clocks added to the pressure. The challenge each time was to balance analysis and action and forge a management and communication strategy that would curb the chaos, rather than contribute to it.

This training was part of our larger support project for DIBS.

Academy Fellow Annelieke van de Wiel coaching two workshop participants at the Georgia’s Defense Institution Building School.

Negotiation and mediation in conflict resolution

In 2019 we continued our unique programme for the Netherlands MFA to prepare and support mediators and groups in conflict in their negotiation processes. We trained a total 679 people, including from the African Union, ECOWAS and ASEAN, and were active in, for example, Nigeria, Yemen, Ukraine, Myanmar, the Philippines, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Strengthening Regional Mediation Support

This year, Clingendael Academy organised two separate training programmes for officers working for mediation support structures at different regional organisations and the UN. The aim of the two training programmes was to better equip mediation support structures with the tools necessary to be efficient in their work and to facilitate strategic planning.

The first training (in November) welcomed regional organisation officers who were new in the mediation field. Clingendael trainers provided them with a better understanding of negotiation and mediation and strengthened their skills in negotiation and mediation as well as strategic policy formulation tools. The second training welcomed more senior staff. We focussed on skills in strategic policy formulation and facilitated the formulation of strategic action plans for the next 5 years. The two trainings were attended by representatives of ASEAN (IPR), AU,  COMESA, ECOWAS, ICGLR, IGAD (MSU & CEWARN), UN (DPPA), OAS and OSCE.

Positive impact on peace processes

In 2019 we asked eight partner organisations to share with us how they saw the added value of our training interventions in their projects. They found that Clingendael negotiation training contributed to:

the transition from armed to non-violent opposition groups in at least three cases;
bringing groups together across conflict lines, thereby building trust;
strengthening cohesion inside groups, such as in loose opposition coalitions;
ripening of minds and getting more commitment from leaders of conflict groups to peace initiatives;
new entry points for partners to conflict groups to advance their peace work.

We also asked alumni about the impact of our training: 73% of respondents were involved in a negotiation or mediation process after completion of the course. Of those participants, 89% used lessons learned and more than 80% said this had a positive impact.

How have these techniques impacted your approach to negotiations?
How have these techniques impacted your approach to negotiations?

European affairs

Academy Fellow Christiaan Nelisse training policy officers of the Dutch national government.

Also in 2019 we continued our work for professionals working in or with Brussels, which included specialised seminars for Portugal to prepare its civil servants for their upcoming turn to hold the EU rotating presidency.

Inzicht in Europa (Understanding Europe)

In 2019, the Academy again won the tender process to provide EU trainings for policy officers from all parts of the Dutch national government. We revamped the training programme and in November and December the first edition took place under the new contract. Twelve civil servants of all ranks and grades took part in the four-day training. We trained them in everything, ranging from how Trilogues work to how Working Parties are organised, from understanding Brexit to critically reviewing the Multi-annual Financial Framework. Lobbyists, former MEPs, Dutch diplomats and our very own negotiation trainers all played their part. With four of the five trainings in 2020 already fully booked, we look forward to many more years of Inzicht in Europa.

Humanitarian negotiations

In our humanitarian negotiations project we support humanitarian aid workers in gaining access by improving their negotiation skills. We delivered a total of 19 trainings in 2019, both at Clingendael and in Abuja, Erbil, Dubai, Beirut and Tashkent, for example.

Training of trainers

It is vital that local humanitarian workers receive negotiation skills training, since they do a lot of the day-to-day interactions that are so vital for the delivery of aid and sometimes in very dangerous and challenging circumstances. To reach a greater number of local professionals, we started a Training of Trainers course in 2019. The goal of the ToT is to have a group of trainers worldwide who can deliver training locally and in the locally relevant language. The first of these locally delivered trainings took place in 2019, when one of our participants trained a group of local Syrian aid workers. We continue to coach and support the alumni of this first ToT in delivering these training sessions.

Having an impact that matters

Seventy percent of our alumni work in areas with high humanitarian access constraints. Six months after they attend the course, we check how they are doing. Aid workers tell us they feel much more in control of their preparation and choices during negotiations, especially when working in a team. They are better able to represent humanitarian interests while at the same time building up a better rapport with their counterparts. We are delighted that aid workers feel more confident about the choices they make when negotiating and we see improved negotiation processes leading to better programming on WASH, health, food distribution and protection, especially in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Somalia.

See also our Impact Map 2018-2019.

Economic diplomacy

In 2019 we delivered multiple training projects aimed at economic and sustainable development, including our Blue Economy programmes for diplomats from Small Island Development States.

Economic diplomacy in Cyprus

Academy Fellow Hans Wurzer and diplomats from the republic of Cyprus.

In April 2019 Clingendael and Ecorys embarked on a European Commission project to modernise the economic diplomacy of Cyprus. This project is based on three pillars:

A Strategic Action Plan for Economic Diplomacy formulated with input from all stakeholders in Cyprus’s economic diplomacy ecosystem, including ministries, investment promotion agencies, chambers of commerce etc.;
A capacity-building workshop (delivered in November 2019) aimed at preparing Cypriot trainers to provide their own economic diplomacy trainings;
Three workshops on economic diplomacy (scheduled in 2020) to hone the skills of all practitioners in the economic diplomacy ecosystem, drawing on research from the Strategic Action Plan.

International security

In 2019 we continued our highly successful International Security courses (both open enrolment as well as tailor-made). We also renewed our contract with the Dutch Military to provide skills training in a number of their officers training programmes.

Pre-deployment training

In 2019 we started a new cooperation to provide training for the Dutch State Civil Mission Pool. In three training courses we prepared civilian experts for deployment in crisis areas. In addition to themes such as ethics, gender, decision-making and mandates, an important part of the programme is reflection on future deployments in a crisis management mission and how the training links to the practice in a mission area and the daily activities of our participants.

These trainings supplement our longer-running pre-deployment defence training courses, which are focused on missions in the Middle East, such as the UNIFIL, UNDOF, UNTSO and USSC missions. Around 100 experts were prepared for a deployment by Clingendael Academy in 2019.

Let’s get digital

Throughout 2019, Clingendael Academy greatly expanded its arsenal of digital learning tools. Trainers used these tools to support their classroom activities, to teach participants online across oceans or to remotely collect data from our many alumni to help them to make the Academy’s training interventions even more effective.

One example of such a newly developed and applied digital learning tool is an extensive e‍-‍learning module on commercial diplomacy, which addresses core issues relevant to diplomats. How do you set up a trade mission? How do you support your national entrepreneurs abroad? How do you attract foreign direct investment? And how should you brand your country? These are some of the questions to which diplomatic participants can find answers in this Clingendael Academy e-learning.