Minister Dr Anže Logar gives an introductory lecture at the newly established Diplomatic Academy
For the first time in the history of independent Slovenia, a broad-ranging Diplomatic Academy programme was launched at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Academy will provide education for future Slovenian diplomats and permanent training for experienced diplomats. At the beginning of its operation, Minister Dr Anže Logar pointed out the importance of the Academy’s role in Slovenian diplomacy, which must “keep up with the times and be constantly updated”, adding that Slovenia remains a staunch advocate of a stronger, more cohesive, efficient and transparent Union. This ability to keep pace was reaffirmed during the recent pandemic crisis when Slovenian diplomacy performed outstandingly, especially in providing assistance to our citizens, responding quickly and reporting on measures taken in other countries, thus demonstrating perseverance, flexibility and hard work.
In his introductory lecture, the Minister outlined his view on the activities of Slovenian diplomacy at a time when the security environment faces unprecedented change due to the emergence of new threats and challenges in the EU and beyond. The attending diplomats were briefed about the foreign policy guidelines in diplomacy under the new leadership which must contribute with its activities to enhancing political, economic, transport, energy and other connections with the neighbouring countries and within the EU. Diplomatic activities will draw from two hubs of Slovenian foreign policy, which were not really in such sharp focus until relatively recently: the EU and NATO.
Minister Logar especially emphasised the need for a more confident foreign policy, which should not be perceived as predictable and taken for granted, which was a source of many challenges in the past. With regard to fulfilling the commitments set out in Slovenia's foreign policy strategic documents, the Minister pointed out that it is “necessary to keep the bridges standing”, and thus, it is essential to cooperate with a broader circle of EU Member States and beyond. Among the priorities of the upcoming Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU – which have become even more relevant during the recent corona crisis – he drew attention to resilience to all forms of threats, especially cybernetic and hybrid. According to the Minister, the second presidency brings another opportunity for Slovenia to prove itself in the international arena, which, in his opinion, requires both confident foreign policy and confident diplomacy.
Headed by Dr Andraž Zidar, the Diplomatic Academy is based on the concept of permanent diplomatic training with a focus on practicality and interactivity. Lectures and seminars for the Ministry’s employees will primarily be given by experienced diplomats, with lectures focusing on case studies and insights from the diplomatic sphere, thus fostering reflection on how theory could be translated into practice. Set out on four pillars, the Academy programme will include training for diplomatic exams and higher-level diplomatic exams, training in diplomatic skills, and lectures on current regional topics and issues.
The pandemic has shone a light on the advantages and disadvantages of communicating via video conferences amidst an era of big changes in international relations, new technologies and threats. The Diplomatic Academy is thus being launched in what is an exceptional year – especially for diplomacy, which has traditionally been based on a handshake and eye-contact.