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Learning with and from each other

What brings together young diplomats from the Western Balkans to study and discuss key issues for tomorrow’s world? A seminar organized by the Federal Foreign Office’s Training for International Diplomats. Seventeen young diplomats from seven Western Balkans countries travelled to Berlin for the second seminar designed specifically for diplomats from the region. The motto of the seminar: “A common future in Europe”.

The wide-ranging and intensive programme offered talks and debates on various foreign policy issues, visits to political institutions and non-governmental and media organizations as well as a German-language course. There were also excursions to other German cities – Frankfurt and the European Central Bank, for example – and Brussels, where the group visited NATO and various European institutions.

Ivana Nikolić from Serbia found the mix of theory and practice particularly rewarding. Her eyes shining, she spoke enthusiastically about the two-day media workshop and the negotiations seminar. Her training in Serbia had had a very theoretical slant, she explained. What she appreciated especially about the Berlin seminar was the chance to put what she had learned into practice. It had also been very helpful to learn more about the way the Federal Foreign Office was organized. In the Serbian Foreign Ministry Nikolić works in the United Nations Department.

For five weeks part of a multilateral team

At the Bundeswehr Operations Command

At the Bundeswehr Operations Command
© Bundeswehr

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At the Bundeswehr Operations Command

At the Bundeswehr Operations Command

At the Bundeswehr Operations Command

Almir Hasečić, too, is glad he could attend the five-week seminar.The 32-year-old diplomat from Bosnia and Herzegovina has spent the past two years in his Foreign Ministry’s Protocol Department. At some point in his career he would like to work in a multilateral environment. What he had learned during the seminar would be good preparation for such work, he felt. The contact with his seminar colleagues had also been very valuable. “Obviously one has a great deal to do with the countries in one’s immediate region,” he explained. “For our future,” Ivana Nikolić added, “it’s very important that we representatives of the young generation have spent five weeks here as part of the same team.”

The participants in the second seminar for diplomats from the Western Balkans are from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The thinking behind the programme is that bringing young diplomats from the region together will help foster greater mutual understanding. The longer-term goal is to promote cooperation between Germany, the European Union and the countries of the Western Balkans.

According to participants, another benefit of the seminar were the many new contacts they had made in Germany, including with programme speakers or representatives of the organizations the group visited. “They all told us that if we have any queries when we’re back home, we shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch,” Fitim Nuhii from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia reported. “That’s very helpful.”

Good memories of Berlin

Alongside the intensive programme, participants had the opportunity of course to get to know Berlin and sample some of its cultural highlights. The group were particularly impressed by the Carnival of Cultures, a multicultural street festival in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. “Berlin’s fantastic, a really way-out place,” Almir Hasečić enthused. “I dream some day of being posted for a few years to the Serbian Embassy in Berlin,” Ivana Nikolić added.

The Federal Foreign Office’s Training for International Diplomats was initiated in 1992. Over the years more than 1800 diplomats from all over the world have completed the various programmes and are now regarded in their home countries as experts on Germany. The Federal Foreign Office sees them as important bridge-builders between Germany and their home countries.


Last updated 12.06.2012