Diplomatic Training Course for International Participants 1/2011
The Diplomatic Training Course for International Participants 1/2011 was held from 14 March to 1 April 2011 and was attended by a total of 17 participants, i.e. 3 officers from Wisma Putra and 14 foreign participants from Croatia, Ecuador, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand and Vietnam. The 17 participants were also joined by the wife of the participant from Pakistan, who had requested for permission for his wife to accompany the group for non-classroom activities.
The objectives of this course included; providing participants with practical exposure to the field of diplomacy and international relations; enhancing participants’ diplomatic and operational skills in the performance of their duties; as well as exposing participants to Malaysia’s experience in nation building and foreign relations. In addition, the course is also hoped to provide an avenue for networking and establishing mutually beneficial relationships amongst participants.
Among topics covered during classroom discussions include; Introduction to International Relations Theory; Politics and Globalization; ASEAN and Regional Integration; The International Court of Justice as an Avenue for Peaceful Settlement of Disputes; Understanding World Religion and Philosophies: Inter-faith and Inter-civilization Dialogue; Grooming and Social Etiquette; Trade and Diplomacy; Language and Diplomacy; Presentation Skills; Experience of a Diplomat; and Humanitarian Diplomacy. Topics such as Handling Crisis Situations and Difficult Questions from the Media; International Negotiations; and Presentation Skills conducted by the Language Division of IDFR required the active involvement of participants through simulation exercises.
During their time in IDFR, the participants also had the opportunity to attend two presentations on the changing nature of diplomacy; “Globalised Diplomacy-Diplomats of the 21st Century”, by H.E. Simon Featherstone, British High Commissioner to Malaysia; and an Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) Eminent Persons Lecture entitled, “New Frontiers on Science Diplomacy”, by Sir Peter Michael Williams from the Royal Society, United Kingdom.
On their first weekend in Malaysia, the participants were taken on a tour of Kuala Lumpur which began very close to home i.e. at the Istana Negara. They also visited Royal Selangor, Tugu Negara, Masjid Negara and the famous Central Market. The participants braved the rainy weather and a procession crowd at Batu Caves that day, with most of them making it all the way to the top of the stairs, with pictures to prove it.
The participants also underwent study visits to; Tourism Malaysia; Islamic Arts Museum; Economic Planning Unit (EPU); Wisma Putra; PETRONAS; Putrajaya Holdings and a tour of the administrative capital of Malaysia, which concluded with a cruise on the Putrajaya lake. While visiting the Parliament of Malaysia, the participants had the rare opportunity to witness the taking of oath of office by Y.B. Dato’ Dr. Senator Mashitah Ibrahim, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department before the President of the Senate. The participants were indeed privileged to be personally greeted and welcomed by the President of the Senate, The Hon. Senator Tan Sri Abu Zahar bin Dato’ Nika Ujang and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, The Hon. Datuk Dr. Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar respectively.
Undeniably, the highlight of their 3 weeks in Malaysia was the homestay at Pelegong Village, Labu, Negeri Sembilan. Here, the participants had the opportunity to take part in a traditional Malay wedding ceremony and eat to their hearts content, local fruits straight from the orchard.
The closing ceremony for the Diplomatic Training Course for International Participants 1/2011 was held on 1 April 2011 with the presence of Ambassadors and representatives from the Embassies of the participants in Kuala Lumpur, making the occasion extra special and meaningful. The participants also prepared a colorful slide show of all their experiences in Malaysia, which was enjoyed immensely by all present.