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Monday, 23 May 2022

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The Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) organised the second SPKM series for the year 2022 from 21 to 25 March 2022. The Pre-Posting Orientation Course for Home-Based Staff and Spouses 2/2022, conducted online via Google Meet, was intended for officers of Grade 38 and below alongside their spouses, with the objective to expand their diplomatic, administrative, and social etiquette skills, as well as enhancing their skills in understanding the fundamentals of international diplomatic practices that are essential to their future postings abroad.

A total of 57 officers together with 43 spouses attended the course from different ministries, agencies, and departments. They were from the Malaysian Armed Forces, Tourism Malaysia, Ministry of Human Resources, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister’s Department, Immigration Department of Malaysia, Ministry of Higher Education, Majlis Agama Islam Negeri Sembilan, and Yayasan Pahang.

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Prepared by:
Centre for Leadership, Negotiation and Public Diplomacy (LNPD)

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IDFR held this year's first Cultural Diplomacy Lecture Series (CDLS) on 11 March 2022, featuring Dr Christina Yeo Ken Yin, Undersecretary for International Relations (Culture) from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) as the guest speaker. CDLS is an effort to instil awareness and acts as a knowledge-sharing session on how cultural diplomacy is practised and how it can promote peace, stability, and prosperity globally.

Speaking on the topic of The Dynamics of Malaysia’s National Cultural Policy (DAKEN) at the International Stage, Dr Christina emphasised that it is crucial to not view DAKEN as merely a document, but instead to take advantage of the avenues that DAKEN provides in order to promote cultural diplomacy. She postulated that although the position of arts and culture in the policy-making process has evolved over time, culture, heritage and tourism are mutually exclusive and hence, naturally interconnected.

Dr Christina highlighted that although the nation is blessed with a multitude of cultural assets, it tends to be taken for granted and thus underappreciated. She then introduced the Malaysia’s National Cultural Policy (DAKEN) (2021-2025) with the theme Negara Maju, Rakyat Berbudaya. It is a blueprint formulated to act as a guiding principle to uphold cultural diversity. To ensure that the formulation of DAKEN complies with existing national policies and practice, it is anchored to the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara, as well as the five-year MOTAC strategy plan. On a global level, MOTAC also took into account pre-existing international conventions, such as the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The lecture ended with a Question and Answer session, in which thought-provoking questions were raised with regard to enhancing cultural appreciation on the national level prior to propelling it globally. Fifty-three officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the hybrid session in person, while 19 officers from several Malaysian Missions joined the programme online.

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Prepared by:
Centre for Languages and Cultural Diplomacy (CLCD)

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The High Tea Talk with YBhg. Tan Sri Dr Mazlan Othman, Director of the International Science Council (ISC) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) was held on 3 March 2022 at the Executive Dining Room, Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) at 2.30 pm.

The programme started with remarks by Mr. Umaabati Chandrasekaram, President of Diploma in Diplomacy 1/2022, followed by a sharing session by Tan Sri Dr Mazlan on her experiences, and then proceeded with a high tea.

During the session, Tan Sri Dr Mazlan shared her experiences and stories dealing and negotiating with prominent leaders that led to the birth of the Malaysian Space Agency. She also shared the challenges that she faced when she was assigned the role to lead the Agency as she was still serving at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna, Austria. Other topics of importance that were discussed were leadership in abundance; adapting to challenging working environment; and on how junior diplomats could be visible and noticeable at their respective overseas assignment.

Tan Sri Dr Mazlan also advised the junior diplomats to be visible and play an active role in representing Malaysia in international organisations such as the United Nations. Apart from delivering national statements and being involved in meetings, junior diplomats would need to proactively engage and build relationships with people beyond work, such as informal meetups and discussion over coffee or breakfast. The event ended with a group photo session with Tan Sri Dr Mazlan at 4.30pm.

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Prepared by:
Mr. Danial Akhtar (Project Manager)
Diploma in Diplomacy 1/2022

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IDFR successfully organised the Negotiation Course for Junior Level Officers for the year 2022. The course was held online via Zoom from 22 to 24 February 2022 and was intended for Malaysian government officials at the junior level of Grade 41 to 44, who are likely to involve in negotiations, whether in the formal or informal settings, with the government and non-government actors, both locally and internationally.

Thirty-two participants who attended the course were officers from various ministries, departments, and government agencies. They were from the Prime Minister’s Department, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Transport, and Majlis Amanah Rakyat.

This course was designed to enhance participants’ understanding about the principle rules of negotiations, strengthen their skills, as well as to share with the participants about the real-life experience on negotiation strategies, processes, tools, and tactics from a Malaysian diplomat. It also aimed to help the participants to develop their core competencies towards effective negotiation through interactive lecture sessions, group discussions, and sharing of experience with the expert in this field.

In his closing remarks, the Director of Centre for Leadership, Negotiation and Public Diplomacy (LNPD), Mr. Hamizan Hashim congratulated all participants for their commitment in completing the course. It is hoped that this course could enhance their competency and professionalism in preparation for the actual negotiation.

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Prepared by:
Centre for Leadership, Negotiation and Public Diplomacy (LNPD)

 

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On 24 February 2022, the Centre for Political Studies and Economic Diplomacy, IDFR successfully kick-started its first IDFR Lecture Series 1/2022 featuring H.E. Takahashi Katsuhiko, Ambassador-Designate of Japan to Malaysia. The “40th Anniversary of Malaysia’s Look East Policy: 40 Years and Beyond” was chosen as the title of the lecture in commemoration of the LEP milestones that have reached its fourth decade. The lecture was held in a hybrid form with a physical attendance of 30 participants from Wisma Putra officials including DiD 1/2022 cohort and also 120 online participants via Zoom and Facebook live from relevant ministries, government agencies, think tanks and universities.

H.E. Takahashi Katsuhiko began the lecture by reflecting on the inception of the LEP back in 1982. Under the administration of former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, LEP was introduced with the aim to emulate the work ethics and ethical values besides learning the best practices from Japan. Through this policy, both countries have placed emphasis on study and training programmes for students and government officials especially in the fields of Engineering, Science and Mathematics.

Malaysia and Japan have both witnessed the LEP come into fruition as more than 26,000 Malaysians have visited Japan for study and training, whereas up to 1,500 Japanese companies were established in Malaysia. The familiarity of Malaysians with the Japanese language and work ethics have been highlighted as among the key points of attraction for Japanese investments in Malaysia. The enhancement of people-to-people connection remains the focus of LEP and Japan is committed to support the human resources development in Malaysia through various institutions.

Looking beyond the 40 years of LEP, Japan is ready to take the policy a notch higher by venturing into new areas of collaboration such as disaster risk management, carbon neutral environment, ageing and health society, digital economy and also aerospace industry. While the birth of LEP is for Malaysia to emulate from Japan, H.E. Takahashi Katsuhiko highlighted that Japan can also learn from Malaysia through its diversity, Islamic moderatism and tourism aspects. The two-way partnership should also be elevated into a new notion of tackling current global issues such as COVID-19, sustainability, climate change, ageing society, and maritime security especially in the region of Indo-Pacific. Both Malaysia and Japan are also called to continue joining hands in providing global assistance to African and Middle Eastern countries, especially with the recent situation in Afghanistan. In conjunction with the 40th anniversary, it is a good opportunity for both Malaysia and Japan to review the outcome of LEP and elevate their bilateral relations in the global context.

The lecture was then concluded with a presentation of memento by Ms. Norli Muadza, the Director of Competency Enhancement Centre, IDFR, as a token of appreciation for H.E. Takahashi Katsuhiko, followed by a photography session with the participants.

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Prepared by:
Ms. Hanun Insyirah Ishak and Ms. Aida Yasmin Azhar
Centre for Political Studies and Economic Diplomacy (PSED)