More than just a further-training programme

The Federal Foreign Office building on Werderscher Markt currently rings to the sound of groups of young people talking in different languages.They are young diplomats taking part in programmes run by Training for International Diplomats. At the moment, seminars are taking place for young diplomats from the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

David Grant from Belize had his second German lesson this morning and is happy to have learnt basic greetings like “Guten Tag”. “You have to start somewhere,” he adds, laughing. Grant is participating in the 5th Executive Seminar for diplomats from Latin America and the Caribbean, which started on 30 August. The 27-year-old is actually posted to the Embassy of Belize in Brussels.

Learning about German policy

He and 14 others are in Berlin until 8 October to learn something in this very practically-oriented programme about integration processes in the EU, for instance. Marcelo Cid is another participant. After the course, the 35-year-old Brazilian will be working at his country’s Embassy in Berlin. “The course has a lot to offer,” he says, “especially for people staying on here in Berlin.” He finds it very helpful to have such an intensive introduction to German policy.

A wide range of topics

Pamela Ong, too, finds this a great benefit of Training for International Diplomats. “You get the German perspective on a wide range of topics.” The 25-year-old from Singapore is taking part in the Executive Seminar for participants from Asia and the Pacific, which has been running since 23 August. Here the young diplomats learn about how the Federal Foreign Office works, about foreign-policy actors in Germany and about various European institutions.

Training for International Diplomats was initiated in 1992 by the then Federal Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, as a further-training programme in German and English. The programme has been constantly expanded since then. A total of 17 courses are being held in 2010. More than 1400 diplomats from over 130 countries have taken part to date.

Green Berlin

The 5th Executive Seminar for the Asia-Pacific region runs till 24 September. Damien Miller is another participant. He is going to stay in Berlin for three years and will work at the Australian Embassy. “Berlin is a city full of nature,” says the 34-year-old appreciatively. What Brazilian Marcelo Cid likes most about Berlin are the many museums. And David Grant says, “I was surprised to see how green and vital the city is.”

Fascinating history

Pamela Ong has been struck by the openness with which Germans discuss their history. Damien Miller has noticed this openness too, for instance during the fact-finding trip to Bonn, where he was impressed by the fact that “Germany’s entire centre of government had been transplanted from one city to another.” Germany’s long and rich history is particularly interesting for someone from Latin America, says David Grant.

Making new contacts

The four participants agree that they will be able to take a great deal away from the course for their work. “Being able to meet other young diplomats in an environment like this is very helpful,” says David Grant. “You get into some interesting discussions.” And it is also a good chance to make valuable contacts.

The next Training for International Diplomats seminar starts on 13 September. It is the first one organized for young diplomats from francophone Africa.

The Asia-Pacific course was introduced in 2008 and since then around 20 people have completed it each year. The five-week programme includes fact-finding trips to German Länder with special links with Asia, as well as to Brussels and The Hague. The course for Latin America and the Caribbean was launched in 2006. Fact-finding trips give participants an insight into European institutions and international organizations.

Last updated 09.09.2010

Further information

Applications for Training for International Diplomats programmes can only be submitted upon invitation. Further information:

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