Speakers at the EDA virtual session. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) recently launched its new series, ‘EDA Next 50 Talks,’ in support of the UAE government’s plan to chart the largest national action strategy of its kind — to prepare the nation for the next half century.

The ‘EDA Next 50 Talks’ brings together local and international experts, who discuss new trends for the crucial field of diplomacy.

The new series launched with the first discussion on ‘Health Diplomacy,’ and welcomed Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, Director of the World Health Organisation Global Malaria Programme in Geneva, and Dr. Nariman Al Mulla, Consul General of the UAE in Melbourne. The interactive discussion, which was moderated by Bernardino León, Director General of the EDA, was attended by EDA’s professors, researchers and staff, along with a number of the UAE’s leading future diplomats.

León said: “The launch of this exciting series is part of our Academy’s commitment to providing an ideal opportunity for our students to actively engage with prominent international speakers, world-renowned diplomats and experts within various fields.”

Specific questions and scenarios

He pointed out that each session will include specific questions and scenarios on how the UAE can improve its strategies, in order to strengthen the country’s position on the international stage.

He highlighted that the role and nature of diplomacy is ever-changing, adding: “Diplomatic practice has shifted its focus away from being solely closed door, top-level negotiations — to at times, a more public-facing form of diplomacy. Moreover, the great impact of the global pandemic, has allowed technology to rapidly transform how we, as a society, access and share information, particularly concerning current affairs. This has thus given rise to a more transparent and reactive approach to foreign policy.”

Alonso said: “Health should be at the centre of our global diplomacy. In the field of health, infectious diseases are the one thing that can bring the world a halt within just a few weeks. The health, economic, social and political consequences due to Covid-19 bring to light a real persistent challenge in the global system.”

Common goal

He pointed out that it is vital for countries to merge to a common goal in combating the virus, which he said requires global cooperative Health Diplomacy. He noted that science and solidarity must thus be the key driving force in international relations and diplomacy.

Al Mulla said: “It is a great honour for me to participate in the ‘Health Diplomacy session of the ‘EDA Next 50 Talks’ series, to highlight the health diplomacy of the UAE and the efforts made by the country, locally and globally, to address the Covid-19 pandemic.” She added that the coming years will witness new patterns of worldwide alliances and partnerships that will focus on the global health security, which will further enhance the role of health diplomacy.

Unique platform

The ‘EDA Next 50 Talks’ provides a unique platform for the EDA’s students to actively engage with prominent figures from the UAE and from around the world, while also deepening their understandings about pressing issues and global challenges. The series is part of the Academy’s mission to equip the UAE’s current and future diplomats with the knowledge and multidisciplinary skills to effectively serve their nation.