Meet some of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy graduates

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The first group of students specialising in international relations and diplomacy are preparing to graduate from the Emirates Diplomatic Academy.

Meet five of the 54 postgraduate students:

Sarah Fouad

Position: Head of development policy and strategy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Strategic decision-making was for Sarah Fouad the key ­component of her education and empowered her to take leadership roles for the UAE. She said that being at the academy gave her an insight into our multifaceted world. Just as important, Ms Fouad said, were the connections she made with her colleagues. “In Emirates Diplomatic Academy, I met a lot of people with interesting personalities and made some lifelong friends,” she said. “I am proud to be a part of this game-changing academy.” She said she knew learning was a continuous process and was trying to “learn at every possible second”.

Khalfan Al Suwaidi

Position: Attache, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Through practical simulations as part of the coursework, Khalfan Al Suwaidi feels he is now better equipped to serve the UAE as a diplomat.

“By offering simulations of negotiations, research and analytical skills, the Emirates Diplomatic Academy is a unique concept that provides a great opportunity for junior diplomats to acquire practical skills in diplomacy,” he said. Mr Al Suwaidi said the networking carried out while at the academy would give him more options for practising his diplomatic skills and ­cultivating a worldly understanding of his work. On a more practical level, he found that the programme allowed him to broaden his diplomatic knowledge by educating him about the partnerships between the UAE and other countries.

Nouf Al Kuwaiti

Position: Third secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Nouf Al Kuwaiti’s best ­experiences during her ­courses at the academy were the relationships she ­developed and the ­interpersonal skills she ­improved. “Being at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy has improved my knowledge, my networking skills and most importantly my relationships with my colleagues,” Ms Al Kuwaiti said. Being part of the first batch of students was also a source of pride for her and an experience she ­expects to draw on ­extensively as she continues her diplomatic duties.

Basma Al Saadi

Position: Attache, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Basma Al Saadi said she learnt the most at Emirates Diplomatic Academy through the access she was given to some of the UAE’s greatest diplomats. Studying at the academy, she said, was a great opportunity for her to learn the latest political theory and apply it to her ­career. One of the most memorable lectures for her was by Omar Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to Russia. “He is a role model and the academy gave us access to him and the opportunity to gain knowledge from him that we couldn’t have got anywhere else,” she said. Before starting her course, Ms Al Saadi worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. “Within the past nine months I have learnt so much about diplomacy and political relations, which was greatly helped by the frequent lectures and informal talks,” she said.

Saeed Al Eghfeli

Position: Attache, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Meeting Bernardino Leon, director general of the academy and a former United Nations diplomat, was one of the main reasons Saeed Al Eghfeli decided to put more effort into pursuing a career in diplomacy. Mr Al Eghfeli said he tried to take advantage of the academy’s partnership with major diplomatic institutions abroad to hone his skills. He aspires to be a contributor towards UAE foreign policy and said he had benefited greatly from the academy’s programme, particularly from the international experts it attracted. He believes he and his fellow graduates will play pivotal roles in shaping country’s future, and said he was grateful to the academy for nurturing his talents and encouraging his abilities.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae