Special Course for Afghan Diplomats
In keeping with the special emphasis on India’s contribution to capacity building in Afghanistan, the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service conducted a three month long Special Course for Afghan Diplomats from February 18 to May 17, 2002. It was attended by a group of 20 diplomats from Afghanistan. Interacting with these diplomats the Vice President of India said that, “this course further strengthens the age old cultural and historical links between India and Afghanistan…and helps to create trust and friendship and a better understanding between the peoples of the two countries”. The Second Special Course for Afghan diplomats was also held for three months (Aug – Oct 2002).
In addition to the training of Afghan diplomats, in response to a request from the office of H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, for a specialised training course for the officers working in the Presidential palace, a Special Course for 14 officials of the Presidency of Afghanistan took place at SSIFS from October 6 to December 13, 2002. The training programme included modules on English language, protocol, general secretarial practices and computers.
The duration of the Special Course for Afghan Diplomats was reduced to one month with effect from the 4th Course. The seven courses held until December 2010 have received 133 Afghan diplomats. The training programme for Afghan diplomats has been received extremely well by the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Ghulam Sakhi Ghairat, Director of the Institute of Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IOD) Afghan Foreign Ministry, once mentioned that, “the Afghan participants were highly impressed by cultural affinities and goodwill existing between the two countries and were particularly inspired by India’s experience of nation building as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and pluralistic country which can serve as a role model for Afghanistan”.
Special Courses for Different Countries
In addition to the regular courses for foreign diplomats such as the PCFD and for the diplomats form ASEAN and Afghanistan, SSIFS has also conducted special courses for specific countries such as Canada, Iraq, Palestine, South Africa, Sudan, Israel, Norway and Vietnam. A brief overvies of these courses is given below:
Special Course for Lao Diplomats
The Deputy PM and the Foreign Minister of Lao PDR, Mr. Somsavat Lengsavad, during his official visit to India in May 2003, requested India to help Lao PDR to better handle its responsibilities as the Country Coordinator for India in the ASEAN. Dean SSIFS visited Lao PDR in July/August 2003 and held meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister and the Director General of the Lao Institute of Foreign Affairs following which he recommended a 2 week programme in SSIFS for 10 Lao officials. This led to the holding of a Special Course for Lao Diplomats at SSIFS from December 15 to 26, 2003.
Special Courses for Iraqi Diplomats
In response to a request made by the Dean of Iraq’s Foreign Office, SSIFS conducted a Special Course for 15 Iraqi diplomats for six weeks from January 19 to February 27, 2004.
Special Course for Palestinian Diplomats
At the request of the Palestine National Authority, SSIFS conducted a Special Course for Palestinian Diplomats from November 22 to December 17, 2014. A group of 10 Palestinian diplomats attended the course. Apart from facilitating the up-gradation of their diplomatic and professional skills, the course included issues relating to the West Asian region.
Special Course for Canadian Diplomats
A Special Course for 16 Canadian Diplomats was conducted at SSIFS from March 21 to 24, 2005 under the aegis of Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Cooperation between the Indian Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service and the Canadian Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service signed on October 13, 2003 by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.
Special Course for Vietnamese Diplomats
A Special Course for Vietnamese Diplomats was held from June 13 to 30, 2005. Ten diplomats attended the course. During the course of their stay in India, the Vietnamese diplomats studied India’s relations with all its neighbouring countries in the South Asia and SAARC context.
Special Course for Sudanese Diplomats
SSIFS conducted a Special Course for Sudanese Diplomats from September 26 to November 5, 2005 in which 20 diplomats participated.
Special Course for Southern Sudan
SSIFS held a Special Course for Southern Sudanese diplomats from April 16 to May 16, 2008. Fifteen Diplomats attended the course.
Special course for Norwegian Diplomats
In pursuance of a bilateral MoU with Norway signed in 2005, a Special Course for Norwegian Diplomats was organized by SSIFS from January 19 to 21, 2009 for 33 Norwegian diplomats. The course inter alia exposed the participants to an overview of India’s foreign policy and lectures were also arranged on Indian culture and civilization, economic developments in India as well as social challenges. At the 4th India-Norway Joint Commission meeting which took place in New Delhi on March 2, 2010, the Norwegian side expressed its satisfaction with the course for Norwegian diplomats organized by SSIFS in January 2009. The Norwegian side also proposed to conduct a training programme for Indian diplomats on the lines of the course organized by SSIFS.
Special Course for Diplomats from Maldives
The diplomats of Maldives who attended various PCFD courses found them to be very useful and, accordingly, their government requested for a special training programme for Maldivian diplomats at SSIFS. A Special Course for Diplomats form Maldives was thus held at SSIFS from July 14 to August 12, 2009 for 15 diplomats.
Special Course for Commonwealth Diplomats
The Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service conducted a Special Course for Commonwealth Diplomats from March 7 to 11, 2011 in fulfillment of Hon’ble Prime Minister’s announcement during Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2009 in Port of Spain that India would organize a diplomatic training module fully financed by the Government of India in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Commonwealth. Thirty three diplomats form Commonwealth countries attended the course on Multilateral Issues which covered topics such as the G-20 & the emerging global order, international financial architecture and the need for its reform, climate change, UN reform, nuclear disarmament, international terrorism, energy security, maritime security, WTO negotiations and RTAs/FTAs. The sessions were designed to be interactive, allowing for intensive discussion & exchange of ideas.
Special Course for Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Member States
A Special Course for the diplomats of Pacific Island Forum (PIF) countries took place from January 10 to 14, 2011 at Nadi in Fiji. It was attended by 14 diplomats from eight PIF countries. Two retired Indian Ambassadors visited Fiji to deliver lectures covering 20 different topics relating to global issues, regional situation, diplomatic skills and a knowledge-based module on India highlighting polity, economy, history and culture as well as foreign policy of the country.
Special Course for Diplomats from IOR-ARC Member Countries
At the Eight Council of Ministers’ Meeting of IOR-ARC held in Tehran from April 29 to May 4, 2008, India had offered a Specialised Training Course for Diplomats from IOR-ARC member countries. A Special Course for Diplomats from IOR-ARC Member Countries was accordingly held from April 28 to May 11, 2010. The course for IOR-ARC diplomats has now emerged as an important programme on SSIFS’s calendar, and is being organized periodically.