IDFR Aims To Be Among The Best Training Centres In Diplomacy
By Voon Miaw Ping
KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 (Bernama) -- The Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) here aims to be a leading institution to train top-notch diplomats in the region, its executive chairman, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, said Tuesday. This was in line with its vision to be the regional focal point and centre of excellence for training and research in diplomacy and international studies, he said in an interview here.
Besides providing training for officials from the Foreign Ministry and other ministries in the country, Hasmy said IDFR also took pride in being able to provide training for foreign diplomats, especially from developing countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"Some of these countries had requested that we provide training for them from time to time, even for their ambassadors. In view of the fact that we are also a developing country, we share common perspectives and can learn from each other," he added.
Hasmy said some of IDFR's programmes were specially tailored for foreign diplomats. Such programmes started in 2007 and to date, IDFR had trained more than 1,000 foreign diplomats from 136 countries worldwide, in particular participants from developing countries under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) as well as from ASEAN, Colombo Plan and Commonwealth countries.
Established on July 1, 1991 under the Prime Minister's Department, IDFR was later restructured and became a unit of the Foreign Ministry in 2004.
Its RM60 million new campus at Jalan Wisma Putra here is equipped with an auditorium capable of accommodating up to 250 people, 12 training and lecture rooms, an award-winning library and 60 3-star quality hostel rooms. Other facilities include a 500 people-capacity multi-purpose hall, a gallery, a swimming pool, gymnasiums as well as tennis, squash and badminton courts.
IDFR training courses are also offered to more than 136 countries worldwide, in particular to participants from the developing countries under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) as well as from ASEAN, Colombo Plan and Commonwealth countries.
IDFR had also invited prominent speakers to its Public Lecture Series and they included former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, former South African President Nelson Mandela, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the late Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and the late Yasser Arafat, former head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
As the training arm of the Foreign Ministry, IDFR has long conducted training for Malaysian diplomatic officers before they are posted abroad.
"We provide some 30 courses and programmes yearly at IDFR, and the courses on public speaking, English for diplomacy and public relations are just some of the programmes that we have," he said.
IDFR also conducts courses in other foreign languages (French, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin) to equip officers with a working knowledge of particular languages that will assist them in their official duties at home and abroad.
Hasmy said starting this year, IDFR had been conducting a six-month diploma in diplomacy programme for government officials.
He said IDFR was also discussing with the Foreign Ministry on the need to have officers attend mid-career courses which could serve as a refresher to update and enhance their skills in a fast-changing world.