Bernardino Leon, director general Emirates Diplomatic Academy Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Focusing on the latest trends and challenges in international affairs, the inaugural Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference is set to take place on Wednesday with over 300 delegates including diplomats and academics expected to attend.

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the two-day event is being organised by the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) as the conference aims to come up with new solutions that can be used in the realm of international diplomacy.

Invited speakers include Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, Zaki Nussaibah, Minister of State, Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, and Lana Nussaibah, Permanent Representative of the UAE.

“The Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference will provide a platform for high-profile figures, thought leaders and practitioners from the fields of international politics, diplomacy, academia and the private sector to discuss the latest innovations, trends and challenges, as well as practical solutions in the field of diplomatic practice,” said Bernardino Leon, director general at EDA, commenting on the conference.

“We are optimistic about the ability of conferences such as this one — and those that will follow — to not only identify the solutions to today’s most pressing issues but also find ways to implement them to successful conclusions. As the exchange of ideas is crucial in enabling today’s diplomats to find common ground,” he added, explaining what he expects to come out of the two-day conference.

Leon said a multitude of topics would be discussed and debated, with subjects ranging from gender, technology and culture.

“With regard to gender, we will be presenting research showing how women are still far in the minority to men in the field of diplomacy.

“Our discussions on training will revolve around best practices in developing future diplomats, such as equipping them with global as well as diplomatic competencies,” he added.

“Regarding technology, we will explore the premise that the changing face of the media and global communications presents as many challenges as it does benefits, and cultural diplomacy can open up opportunities for the country to provide a model to which others can aspire,” Leon said, highlighting the relevancy of each topic.

Commenting on the benefits of hosting such a conference in the UAE, Leon said it would help to strengthen partnerships between local and international diplomats as well as positioning the UAE as a key driver in new and innovative ideas in diplomacy.

“To sustain its success on the global stage, the UAE must maintain its reputation and win the trust of the world’s nations. The Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference seeks to enhance the effectiveness of diplomacy, strengthen cooperation between our diplomats and their international counterparts, and position the UAE as a regional and global thought leader.

“The founding father of the UAE, late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, once said: “We extend a hand of friendship to the nations and peoples of the world.” Our diplomacy reflects our national values of openness, tolerance, moderation and consensus building. Events such as the Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference help keep us on the path that Shaikh Zayed set out for us,” he added.

Leon also spoke positively on the knowledge to be gained by the institution’s students attending the conference.

“We aim to provide our students with a clear understanding of international affairs and equip them with the capabilities necessary to deal with the plethora of ever-changing challenges they will face whilst representing the UAE in diplomatic missions abroad,” he said.

“The Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference will offer our students an incredible opportunity to network with some of the top thought leaders in our domain,” he added.