Abu Dhabi: The Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA) recently hosted a session with Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE’s first ambassador to the State of Israel. The interactive session focused on the significance of bilateral relations between the two nations and the diplomatic responsibilities attached to his role as ambassador.
Ambassador Al Khaja was officially sworn into the role by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In accepting the appointment, he became the first Emirati ambassador to head a diplomatic mission in Israel. The post was created as a result of the signing of the ‘Abraham Accords’ between the UAE and Israel in 2020.
The session, hosted in-person, provided insights into Ambassador Al Khaja’s career, which has spanned the fields of both diplomacy and business. Most notably, in 2010, he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. In addition, he has held a number of key roles in energy management, international security, production and procurement management, and research and business development.
Ambassador Al Khaja provided his perspectives on the diplomatic profession to an audience of aspiring diplomats currently enrolled in AGDA. The conversation turned to the significance of his role in Israel. While acknowledging the importance of his posting, Ambassador Al Khaja also shared his enthusiasm for what he sees as an opportunity to develop cooperation between the two countries.
Return to new normal
The session was the first in-person event that AGDA has hosted since March 2020. Recently, AGDA has hosted senior diplomats, high-level foreign service officials, and other dignitaries through its virtual series #EDATalks and the ongoing #Next50Talks.
Bernardino León, Director-General, AGDA, moderated the session. In his opening remarks, he acknowledged the enormity of the diplomatic task that Ambassador Al Khaja has in front of him, saying: “I speak on behalf of everyone at AGDA when I say we wish him every success in this monumental task, and we are confident that he will do an excellent job.”
Keeping students engaged
León also highlighted AGDA’s commitment to keeping students engaged with local and international distinguished diplomats. “Hosting respected diplomats at the academy is one of our main priorities. Their insights provide a window into the day-to-day functions of the job of a diplomat. This gives students an idea of what to expect when they enter the field.”
Carrying UAE’s values
During the session, Ambassador Al Khaja expressed optimism for his new role and his passion for the field of diplomacy. He said: “I recognise that it is a great honour to be chosen by our wise leadership for this historic position, one that enables me to carry the UAE’s values peace, coexistence, and tolerance into a new era of cooperation in the region.”
He added: “The UAE is not limited by challenges, but challenges the limits of what is possible to achieve sustainable peace. Diplomacy is one of most important instruments in our modern society to promote the UAE’s values. I am sure that AGDA’s trainee diplomats joining us today understand how diplomacy can bring about meaningful social, economic, and security advances for the benefit of humanity. And I wish them success in serving our country.”
All in-person events taking place at AGDA’s campus follow up-to-date COVID-19 guidelines issued by the federal and local government.