- By Maha Saddhamma Jotikadhaja, Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt
The ceremony of Architectural Design for Presentation on the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Yangon and Honorary Awarding Ceremony was held at the Wyndham Grand Hotel, Yangon at 10.30 a.m. on 9 July 2019. Later followed a grand lunch jointly hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung [FES].
U Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for the Ministry of International Co-operation handed over certificate of honour and memorable gifts to Jury Panel of Architectural Design Assessment, U Denzil Able, Director [Rtd] and retired officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. U Denzil Able also awarded honorarium prizes to five Architect teams who were short-listed at the preliminary stage.
Though not a service man of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the writer of this article was and has been till today very much involved in the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the classes for reorientation of the newly appointed Third Secretaries and already appointed ambassadors and other service men of Myanmar Embassies and Consular offices, the writer has been teaching diplomacy theory and practices, diplomatic etiquette, table manners, toasts and speeches at cocktail, dining and banquet including code of dress. Modern history, Political Science and International Relations [IR] the waiter has been teaching at the Universities are most relevant and important subjects for the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Some over two decades ago when the Myanmar Institute of Strategy and International Studies [MISI] was formed the writer became its member till today. Since the time of the old Pyu dynasty, Myanmar a sovereign independent state has been conducting relations with countries far and near only specially trained and selected envoys were sent abroad for diplomatic affairs. Toyoke Than Yauk Maw Kun [တရုတ်သံရောက် မော်ကွန်း] composed by Nawade II [Poet laureate of Konbaung Period [ကုန်းဘောင်ခေတ်] as one of the outstanding records of how Myanmar envoys, ambassadors and diplomats were chosen, trained and sent out on missions to countries far and near.
Since over two decades ago till today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been opening two training classes: (1). Basic Diplomatic Skill [B.D.S] and Course in Diplomacy (CID). The B.D.S diploma holder can apply any Foreign Service job national, regional or international. CID is for all service men in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including already appointed and posted Myanmar ambassadors. Retired Ambassadors Directors General, Residing foreign ambassadors University Professors of Modern History, Political Science, International Law, Economics and those from Defense Ministry and Police Department are invited to teach and lecture in such classes.
In many countries across the world there are special schools or Colleges for training envoys. In Germany there is the Bond School of Diplomacy, in U.S. there is the Fledger School of Diplomacy, in U.K. there is the Royal Institute of International Affairs [R.I.I.A]. Similarly in ASEAN and BIMSTEC member countries there are special schools or academics for training diplomats.
We have been trying with the idea of opening Diplomatic academy. Budget, time, place, teachings subjects, courses, curriculms, teachers, standard and selection of the students were points of discussion at many meetings held. It was decided that Nay Pyi Taw should be the place for Diplomatic Academy. But it was unanimously decided that it should be in Yangon due to its facilities and global contacts.
The place chosen is on the Pyay Road facing National Museum. It is the old stadium building campus in which the earlier mentioned BDS, CID classes are being held very limited space on the ground. For Diplomatic Academy you need spacious land for buildings for classes discussion rooms, meeting, conference, seminar, workshop, library, archive, periodicals publication rooms recreation and rest room etc. . plus car parking. The said place is too small. But in view of the latest techniques architecture and ultra-modern design, they say it is possible. Space underground and upward be utilized.
Myanmar is developing, moving faster. Her international relations and global contacts are expanding by leaps and bounds. By virtue of her geographic and strategic position, Myanmar no longer afford to look east, look west, or act west and act east. She has to look around into all ten directions and act all around. She supports and join China’s one Belt One Route Initiative [BRI], she also favours Indian’s Bay of Bengal and Pacifie BIMSTEC and SAARC etc.
Right now many new embassies are being opened. But because of the shortage of trained diplomats, some embassies are taking dual charges. Many of Myanmar ambassadors and staff are retiring. Timely production of new and enough qualified diplomats is urgently needed. We should therefore speed up the opening of Diplomatic Academy Yangon of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Hailing it !