(L to R) Dr Shashi Tharoor, Nickolay Mladenov, and Omar Saif Ghobash during the discussion at the academy

Abu Dhabi: The Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA) recently hosted distinguished diplomats in its latest panel discussion, titled ‘Mistakes and Missteps: Lessons we have learned’.

The panel discussion, which was moderated by Nickolay Mladenov, Director-General a.i. of AGDA, welcomed Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC); and Dr Shashi Tharoor, Indian Member of Parliament and former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The session, which was held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Book Fair, shed light on major and minor errors that diplomats may encounter during their careers. The discussion was held at AGDA’s campus and was attended by its students, academics, as well as experts within the field of diplomacy and foreign affairs.

Mladenov said: “As an Academy that plays an integral role in the UAE’s diplomatic ecosystem, we are committed to connecting our students with renowned diplomats – both locally and internationally – to ensure they further their understanding of diplomacy and international relations.”

Speaking to the aspiring diplomats, he added: “It is essential that you learn from diplomatic successes, but also study situations where things have gone wrong, and where mistakes have been made.”

Dr Tharoor spoke to the audience about mistakes caused due to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

“Sometimes messages that you think are being conveyed clearly, get lost in translation. You must always over-interpret instructions with hindsight because once a mistake has occurred, there is not a lot that one can gain by going back to it,” he said.

Ghobash told UAE’s aspiring diplomats to be true to their leadership.

“I am always in favour of learning from one’s mistakes. There is a capacity to forgive mistakes and learn from them. But as diplomats, you must always remember that you are representing the State – you hold the dignity of the State, rather than just your own,” he said.