The Academy, a joint project between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the university through its Institute of International Relations, was successfully launched at the St Augustine campus on May 6.
This was immediately followed by the intense five-day inaugural module on Contemporary Diplomacy: Issues and Processes, facilitated by Professors Jorge Heine and Andrew Cooper from the Balsillie School of International Affairs, co-editors of the Oxford Handbook on Modern Diplomacy.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered greetings via video message at the launch which attracted Government Ministers, the Secretary General of CARICOM, the Dean of The Korea National Diplomatic Academy, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other dignitaries from across the Caribbean. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to advancing 21st-century diplomacy so as to “enhance the understanding and practice of contemporary diplomacy with a distinctive Caribbean perspective”.
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran underscored the importance of the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean to the region and beyond.
He stated, “The Diplomatic Academy provides a unique platform that will allow for the development of foreign policy collaboration and, at the same time, an opportunity for engagement in the world around us as we prepare to meet the ever-changing challenges of diplomacy in the 21st century”.Participants at the inaugural module were guided through the fundamentals of public diplomacy and the balancing of national, regional and global interests as well as contemporary challenges diplomats face.
There was also a session on Digital Diplomacy and ‘Twiplomacy’ (Twitter Diplomacy) along with practical training including a simulated United Nations meeting.
According to Professor Andy Knight, Director of The UWI’s Institute of International Relations, “Unlike other diplomatic academies, the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean was envisioned as a training facility that would give prospective and current Caribbean diplomats the competence to practice a new form of diplomacy that would be relevant to the changed condition of the 21st Century”.
The Academy is being established initially on a two-year project basis, with the objective of meeting a clearly felt need, in the absence of any proper training and learning facility of its kind regionally. Protocol and Diplomatic Law, the next module, will be staged in two cycles – the first from June 23 to 27 and the second from June 30 to July 4.