March-April 2014, Nay Pyi Taw, Republic of the Union of Myanmar – For the first time since joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) seventeen years ago, Myanmar has taken the rotating chair of the regional organisation for the year 2014. With Myanmar positioning itself as an active player in regional integration and diplomacy, the ASEAN Chairmanship provides great opportunities for the country to strengthen its commitment to regional and international cooperation.
Benefiting from more than 50 years of experience in providing diplomatic training, UNITAR has been collaborating with Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) since 2006 to implement training activities for diplomats and officials from various ministries. In this framework of cooperation, UNITAR has conducted four activities focused on diplomacy and international law.
In the context of the preparations for the 2014 ASEAN chairmanship UNITAR has already delivered a training programme in December 2012 as well as one in February 2013, both covering aspects of Conference Diplomacy, ASEAN Diplomacy, Diplomatic Protocol, Chairmanship and Negotiation Skills.
Building on these previous training programmes, UNITAR is currently providing Myanmar diplomats and government officials with training in five core areas: Conference Diplomacy and Negotiation Skills, Conference Management, Diplomatic Protocol, Diplomatic Report Writing and Note-taking Skills, as well as Public Speaking in English and Media Relations. The implementation of this series of training courses is made possible thanks to the generous support of Total Myanmar.
The first workshop, on Diplomatic Report Writing and Note-taking Skills, has already been concluded and was a resounding success. The highly interactive workshop provided junior diplomats with the tools to effectively write reports and to take notes during international meetings and summits. A key message from the resource person, Mr. David Massey, to the junior diplomats was that “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.
Moving on from Report Writing, Conference Management is next on the schedule in Nay Pyi Taw. Facilitated by Ms. Hoang Thi Ha, Assistant Director of the ASEAN Secretariat, the workshop will be held on Friday March 28, and will aim to prepare the Myanmar diplomats for ASEAN-specific issues in Conference Management. Three more workshops will follow, with the last taking place April 7-9, offering training in Public Speaking and Media Relations.
With the spotlight now on Myanmar, the partnership with UNITAR is set to help the country chair a successful ASEAN year, attaining the ideals expressed in its Chairmanship slogan “Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community.”