Marwan Ahmad Al Sawaleh, undersecretary at the Ministry of Education for academic affairs and Bernardino Leon, director general of Emirates Diplomatic Academy, during the signing of the framework agreement in Abu Dhabi on Thurday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Education (MoE) and Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) have signed a framework agreement for an year-round ‘Diplomacy Ambassadors’ programme for high school students in the country.

The agreement was signed by Marwan Al Sawaleh, the Ministry of Education’s undersecretary for academic affairs, and Bernardino Leon, director general of EDA. The agreement also seeks to create an alignment between the key objectives of the ‘Diplomacy Ambassadors’ programme and capability-development programmes undertaken by the EDA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Al Sawaleh said the agreement comes as part of the ministry’s keenness to strengthen cooperation with the various entities in the UAE to enrich the experience of students and develop their skills.

Speaking about the agreement, Al Sawaleh said, “Today we mark the beginning of a collaboration framework between the MoE and the EDA. This framework enables the MoE to fully align our diplomacy programmes with the EDA.”

The official noted that the level of interest in the programme had really taken off across the emirates with the decision to add diplomacy to the programme at the start of the year.


He said this is the first of its kind year-round diplomacy programme for high school students in the country.

“Our probation will also allow the EDA to fast-track the MoE prospective political science students and to the EDA higher education scholarship programme,” Al Sawaleh said.

He also highlighted the importance of training teachers and community-based diplomatic programmes.

He noted that the level of interest in the programme had really taken off across the emirates with the decision to add diplomacy to the programme at the start of the year. “This year we have a total of 1,144 applications for our diplomacy ambassadors programme with only 50 places available,” Al Sawaleh said.

The ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century’.

Speaking about the impact of social media, Rashid Shabib, cultural adviser to Minister of State, Zaki Nusseibeh, said, “Social media plays a big role today that impacts our lives too but I think credibility of contents online is a major issue because whatever is available online faces factual challenge.”

The former British ambassador and current adviser at the EDA, Tom Fletcher said, “social media is an amazing platform but at the same time it’s a dangerous tool so we have to be very curious because it distracts us in different ways. Today everybody is on social media site.”

He sought to remind that youngsters venturing overseas wield immense influence as ambassadors of their country.

“You are the cultural icons of the country and the stories you tell the world make an image of the country,” Fletcher said.