International Futures – Looking at the world from 28 perspectives
The International Futures Programme brings together diplomats and young leaders from governments and think tanks. The participants come from countries which are considered to be the new global players: India, China, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico and South Africa. Annisa Amrih Sophiany from Indonesia and Fernando Tatagiba from Brazil explain how they learned to see the world from new perspectives here in Berlin.
Fernando Tatagiba and Annisa Amrih Sophiany
They actually applied for this Programme to learn how their German partner organisations work: Annisa Amrih Sophiany from Indonesia and Fernando Tatagiba from Brazil are both in Germany for the first time. In their home countries, they work closely in the Foreign and Environment Ministries with German project partners. “It’s good to be here to find out about and understand the cooperation between the KfW (Reconstruction Loan Corporation), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Federal Environment Ministry and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ),” stated Tatagiba.
Understanding political decision‑making processes
The participants also learned much during the last two weeks about Germany’s political system and German foreign policy: “Germany’s political culture is very different to Indonesia’s,” said Sophiany. “There’s a broad political substructure which is lacking in Indonesia. The seminar has given me a better understanding of how political decisions come about in Germany and Europe.”
Diplomacy in the 21st century
Good exchanges in the public speaking course
However, the International Futures Programme is intended to achieve much more: it is the first Training for International Diplomats programme at the Federal Foreign Office targeted at both diplomats and young leaders with international experience. The diverse range of participants is intended to foster a global community of shared responsibility. Via four strategic themes – preparing for the future, geopolitics, global economic policy and working for peace – the Programme provides an introduction to 21st‑century diplomacy. The two‑week seminar in Berlin forms part of the six‑month Managing Global Governance Programme run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
After two weeks, the 28 participants have turned into a genuine international community which has adopted new perspectives together. Sophiany and Tatagiba describe a visit to the Pakistan Embassy where, in addition to traditional music and excellent food, they learned much about the country’s culture and society – both said that this had completely changed the image they had of Pakistan.
28 different perspectives
Tatagiba, a keen hobby photographer, also discovered new perspectives during his walks through Berlin with his camera. “In principle, I had the same goal during the seminar as I did when taking pictures: we participants tried to see every issue from 28 different angles. That helped me to understand why some issues are so sensitive in one country and less so elsewhere – for example, military interventions. Many European countries think very differently about them than our partners in Africa.”
As well as learning about German culture, politics and society, the participants were able to build a tight‑knit network of personal contacts which will endure for a long time to come. Tatagiba, at least, has decided where he would like to travel after the seminar: “Mexico, because we’re more or less neighbours. Indonesia, because of the beaches ... and Pakistan! I’d really like to get to know that country better.”
The Federal Foreign Office has been running the International Futures Programme since 2007 in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and with the support of the European Academy Berlin (EAB). The Programme is one of 15 courses of two to eight‑week duration which the Federal Foreign Office offers each year to around 300 young diplomats from more than 180 countries.
Last updated 25.08.2014