Ministry's 'Diplomacy Academy' works to create smarter world leaders

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 06.12.2016 00:20

Expanding its role in the international community, Turkey now offers diplomacy training to young diplomats from across the globe with the Diplomacy Academy founded by the Foreign Ministry.

The academy, that has trained some 1,898 foreign diplomats since it was formed in 1992, broadened its scope to offer training to those outside Turkey's nearby region, in parallel with Turkey's efforts to reach out to more communities across the globe.

The academy, based in the capital Ankara, resembles a small United Nations assembly, bringing together diplomats from South America, Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and other regions. Student diplomats learn about Turkey's foreign policies and engage in discussions over regional and global developments.

Burcu Çevik, deputy director of the academy, told Anadolu Agency that the training brings together people from a wide array of countries, from as far as the Caribbean to those from neighboring countries in the Middle East.

The academy, originally founded as a training center for Ministry staff in 1968, evolved into a training program for diplomats in 1992 and was named the Diplomacy Academy in 2010. This evolution also reflects the changing structure of the academy, which initially received diplomats from the Caucasian region, Middle East and Balkans, three regions surrounding Turkey.

Turkey, like the academy, has made new additions to a growing list of countries to pursue closer international ties with after decades of a foreign policy, which was less than ambitious, meant to boost the Turkish role in international affairs.

Çevik says that apart from the one-month training, future ambassadors and Foreign Ministry executives are offered tours around Turkey to deepen their knowledge of the country and its culture. Every year, some 80 diplomats, all under the age of 35, from underdeveloped and developing countries, are accepted into the academy. The academy gives them a chance to learn more about their countries' relationship with Turkey. They are also taught about conflict resolution, diplomatic discourse, oratory skills, leadership and other topics.

The academy plays an important role by showing what Turkey and its foreign policy is like to foreigners, Çevik says, pointing out that the young diplomats will be influential in their countries in the future.

"Turkey has a challenge concerning conveying its image to others correctly. We face prejudice and need to be informative when explaining ourselves to others," Çevik said.

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