• UAE Editorial

Global diplomats tackle COVID-19, food security

ABU DHABI-- The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) recently co-hosted the fourth edition of the Future Diplomats Peace Game (FDPG), where renowned diplomats from around the world, EDA trainee-diplomats, ambassadors, and foreign policy experts, shed light on the monumental repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the world’s current global food security crisis.

The EDA co-hosted the event in cooperation with the Foreign Policy Group and the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC).

Leading minds in national security policy, international affairs, business, academia and media came together to "game-out" how to bring violent conflicts to a peaceful conclusion. The exercise offered a chance to address the challenges of diplomacy and peacebuilding, with the same creativity and focus as has been traditionally devoted to war games.

The event, which was held virtually for the first time, saw 24 participants from 20 countries, among the 85 international applications received. The final selected candidates joined from the UAE, Bahrain; Belgium; Cyprus; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Jordan; Kosovo; Maldives; Malta; New Zealand; South Africa; Sri Lanka; the United States; Israel; Spain; Chile; Albania and Yemen.

The programme also featured Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States; Jamal Al Musharakh, Director of Policy Planning Department at the MoFAIC; Mark Ritchie, Former Secretary of State of Minnesota; Bernardino León, Director-General of the EDA; as well as Ravi Agrawal, Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Policy magazine.

"As you participate in this Peace Game, act bravely and think boldly about your fellow human beings who face illness, poverty and food shortages. They are looking to leaders like you for guidance and hope. I know you will not only meet this challenge, but you will exceed it," said Ambassador Al Otaiba, during opening remarks to participants of the FDPG.

"We witnessed the benefits of diplomacy earlier this year with the singing of the Abraham Accords, which normalised relations between the UAE, State of Israel and Kingdom of Bahrain.

"Diplomacy and hard work made this historic moment happen. It opened the door to a more hopeful future for the Middle East - a future where hope and tolerance are more powerful than disagreements and conflict," he added.

Al Musharakh, said, "The FDPG is an essential event for prospective diplomats to search for peace, by engaging and exploring innovative ways to resolve some of the world’s most challenging issues and conflicts – from war and insecurity, to healthcare and food crises, to an unforeseen pandemic, as well as economic crises and climate change. The exercises we witnessed today have showcased the desire for the participants to learn from experiences of the past, and to put knowledge into real-life practice."

León, in turn, said, "The FDPG offers an exciting opportunity for the diplomats of tomorrow to unite and effectively engage with one another, in order to become the next generation of foreign policy leaders and drivers - by exploring innovative and peaceful ways to resolve great conflicts of our time. This was reflected in the COVID-19 and food insecurity theme, as it allowed the participants to vividly understand that the vast repercussions of the pandemic require international collaboration and dialogue."

For his part, Agrawal, stated, "We, at Foreign Policy, are thrilled to be holding another Future Diplomats Peace Game this year, with our partners at the EDA. Amid COVID-19, it is more important than ever to maintain international dialogue on urgent challenges that require collaboration, innovation, and collective action. Our virtual platform is helping to facilitate just that – by bringing together young diplomats from all over the world, to tackle ongoing challenges of the pandemic and growing food insecurity, globally."

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© 2023 UAE editorial

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