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Looking beyond the islands – programme for diplomats from the Caribbean and Pacific concludes

From 31 May to 2 July Germany played host to a group of diplomats whose home countries will be facing particular challenges in the coming years. Few countries feel the impact of climate change as directly as the islands in the Caribbean and Pacific. For that reason, climate change and measures to tackle it were a particular focus of the programme for diplomats from Caribbean and Pacific island states, which was taking place this year for the first time.

A further main aim of the course was to give the young diplomats a better knowledge of Germany in all its facets. Of course, the political system was to the fore, not least during a visit to the Bundestag, which made a special impression on the “islanders”. “For us it is very interesting that the people can look down into the parliament from up here in the dome – it’s not just a matter of looking up,” said one of the course participants.

Like his fellow participants, he had resolved to get as much as possible out of the course which could be of use in his work as a diplomat. Because at international level the standing of the relatively small island states depends to a very great extent on their foreign services.

The wide-ranging programme covered many other topics as well: the financial crisis and its consequences, disarmament and global security, as well as practical exercises like training in negotiating skills and public speaking.

A feeling of belonging together despite all the differences

German culture and lifestyle were not neglected. Whether enjoying German food (the sausages went down especially well) or watching World Cup football together (with everyone crossing their fingers for Germany, of course), the young diplomats got a good insight into everything. A strong feeling of community developed in the group, even though its members literally came from opposite sides of the world.

“We are all very different, but we quickly got to know each other and definitely already feel as though we belong together,” summarized one young woman.

After all, another point of the course was to develop useful contacts and exchange views. There were many opportunities to do so during the course, not only during the study trips to Thuringia, Leipzig, Hamburg and Lübeck.

Training for International Diplomats had invited young career diplomats from the Caribbean and Pacific region to Berlin for this training course. Participants from that region had already taken part in the courses for Latin America and Asia in recent years. This year, the organization of a course exclusively for the Caribbean and Pacific was intended to underscore Germany’s partnership with the island states.


Last updated 06.07.2010

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