Building prosperous and peaceful planet through responsive diplomacy: Stefan
The Federal Office of the Germany conducts training for diplomats from developing countries including Pakistan. The Head of Training Mr. Stefan Biedermann in an interview with INFN correspondent Shakeel Ramay has informed that since inception of the training programme in 1992, we have trained dimplomats from 181 countries. The training imparts the diplomatic staff the knowledge and skill on how to build a peaceful and prosperous planet.
Following are the details of the interview:
1- What is the training programme, and what are its different components?
Since the first days of “Training for International Diplomats” in 1992, we have developed more than 20 different programmes and formats. We see them as long-term investments to promote and foster peace. Our courses mainly target young international diplomats, young talents at the very beginning of their career. They get to know Germany from many different angles, be it in our intense and compact courses that usually last four weeks, or in our programmes for diplomats posted to Berlin. Lectures on the country’s political structure and culture, and its political priorities and positions, as well as German language lessons, lay the foundations.
In addition, we always schedule meetings and briefings in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva or Hamburg, to name but a few, in order to bring our guests together with decision makers and professionals from the fields of politics and economics.
In response to political developments, we have continued to expand our programme variety and have developed formats for a broader target group. To give an example, the first Helmut Schmidt Programme on Global Issues, which took place for the first time this year, provided a forum for professional exchange among senior diplomats. Also, we constantly seek to expand existing instruments of international foreign policy and diplomacy, to think out of the box, as it were. The Global Diplomacy Lab, for instance, is a platform to explore ways towards a new and more inclusive diplomacy that goes beyond traditional politics. Various national and international partners help us to realise this project.
Moreover, over the past few years we have invested a lot of energy in the network that evolves from our programmes and develops every day. We try consistently to maintain and expand this network to ensure that all our efforts do not vanish into thin air.
Living in the centre of Europe, a continent with a long history of war and violence, we Germans are convinced that we should not only be a good neighbour in our home region, but that we should cooperate with others to create “good neighbourhoods” in other regions of the world.
2– Reach of the programme
Our portfolio consists of 15 regular courses with an average of between 15 and 20 participants. Some years ago, we started opening up our network. For some of our programmes, such as the International Futures or the Global Diplomacy Lab, we work closely with partners from both the public and the private sector, various foundations, institutions and organisations, such as the German Council on Foreign Relations. The same applies to many of our alumni network activities. It would be impossible to explain our networking activities in one sentence because we have at least as many different partners as we have forms of cooperation. This summer, for example, six of our alumni participated in the Summer Academy of the United Nations System Staff College.
We think it is very important to bring together different perspectives and positions. We try to connect people who otherwise would very likely never have met. Consequently, after almost 25 years of work, we are very proud to say that our network comprises over 3000 alumni from 181 countries, and if you add the professionals who have participated in our networking events special programmes, the number rises to over 6000.
3- Benefits for developed and less developed countries
Being good neighbours with each other is not a question of wealth, of course. However, it is obvious that what resources you have as a government to invest in the training of young professionals does make a difference. We are happy in this respect in that we are able to support some of those countries who would like to do more for their junior diplomats but cannot afford to. Don’t get me wrong: this is in our own best interest. Ask any colleague: every diplomat prefers to do business in a professional atmosphere, no matter what your position is.
4 – Cooperation with Pakistan
We have welcomed participants from 181 countries to our programmes so far. In our general application procedure, we invite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan to nominate candidates. As of today, 27 diplomats from Pakistan have already participated in our programmes.
In order to benefit mutually from our countries’ experiences, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry equally invites German diplomats on a regular basis to take part in the Diplomatic Course at its Foreign Service Academy. The course is regularly offered to junior and senior diplomats and provides roughly a month of education and close exchange.