Foreign Affairs Launches Intensive Training For Foreign Service Officers-Designate
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a month-long intensive training for foreign service officers-designate, making it a new requirement for potential officers to go through such rigorous training for that period of time before being deployed in the field.
The launching ceremony, which was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, came as the ministry kicks off a month-long training for about 30 individuals, in preparation for deployment on diplomatic missions around the world.
Under the leadership of Foreign Minister, H.E. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., these Foreign Service Officers-designate are the first batch of officers to go through such intensive month-long training ahead of their deployment.
In a keynote address during the program, H.E. Michael A. McCarthy, United States of America Ambassador to Liberia, said the foreign service officers-designate will be exploring a career that continues to sustain the core work of national representation, presenting their country in the best possible light internationally and representing their country’s interests persuasively to host nations’ governments.
In the increasingly interconnected world, Ambassador McCarthy told the trainees, foreign service officers are responsible for a wider portfolio of issues than ever before, adding that they will be meeting with broader groups and building networks that stretch across sectors and levels.
According to the U.S. topmost diplomat to Liberia, diplomats today are still interacting with government representatives, but they are also reaching out to host governments’ business people, civil societies and NGO leaders, diaspora members, academics and the media, among others.
Beyond that, Ambassador McCarthy stated that diplomats today are increasingly playing an advocacy role, in touch with individuals and institutions that help shape opinions and influence decisions.
He cautioned that Liberian future diplomats that it is a great privilege and responsibility to represent their country abroad, adding that ensuring mutual understanding and cooperation between their country and their host nation requires constant cultivation of the bilateral relationship and also at the regional and multilateral ties.
Ambassador McCarthy continued that he is privileged to represent President Joe Biden and the United States government and people in Liberia, a country the United States shares great history and enjoy bonds of friendship and partnership with.
Earlier, Foreign Minister, H.E. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., said, upon assuming the position of minister on October 6, 2020, he embarked on an ambitious reform agenda, which is more than necessary for the realization of the foreign policy objectives of Liberia under the astute leadership of H.E. President George Manneh Weah.
But he quickly noted that all of the reforms cannot be possible without ensuring that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an efficient and effective staff, which the foreign service officers are a part of.
It is against that background that Minister Kemayah said a four-day retreat was held for both the home office and the foreign service staff, restructuring the key elements of the reform for the sole purpose of ensuring that Liberians are given added value for their taxes.
Under his leadership, Minister Kemayah said he thought that, for one to take up an assignment in the field, it is a necessary imperative that they go through a process that will further prepare them for the assignment in the field.
In time past, he said, there has been a four-day orientation for people due to go on the field. He continued that, while he appreciates that, it was not enough in terms of preparation for the kind of results he endeavors getting from the field.
“And so we thought that we would embark upon launching the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Training Program of Foreign Service Officers-designate,” he said.
Minister Kemayah disclosed that as long as he serves as Minister of Foreign Affairs there will be no one foreign service officer who will be appointed, irrespective of their ranking, who will go out into the field without going through an intensive month-long training.
“And it is pursuant to the actualization of that objective, that vision, that we are here today to launch such a program,” he added.
Niels Scott, UN Resident Coordinator in Liberia, said in this 21st century, “We find ourselves in an increasingly complex world.” He later cautioned the future Liberian diplomats about the emerging challenges such as migration and climate change.
He said their training will enable the combination of specialization and expertise and reinforce operational skills on public diplomacy, negotiation and communication.
He noted that this is an increasing requirement in this day and age, emphasizing that qualified, prepared diplomats will ensure peace, stability and harmony, going forward.
Remongar Dennis, Director-General of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), said the training of the foreign service officers-designate is timely, given the important role they have to play in the development effort of Liberia.
He noted that it sends a clear message regarding their role in the economic diplomacy to achieve the goals of the “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)” in particular, and in reference to the “dos and don’ts” of foreign service officers.