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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Former UAE ambassador to China describes what makes a good diplomat in today’s world

Omar Al Bitar, a former diplomat, helps train the UAE's future diplomats.

Omar Al Bitar, vice president of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy and former UAE Ambassador to China, says the key to being a successful diplomat in today’s world is being an influential, ethical and capable individual. Delores Johnson / The National
Omar Al Bitar, vice president of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy and former UAE Ambassador to China, says the key to being a successful diplomat in today’s world is being an influential, ethical and capable individual. Delores Johnson / The National

For Omar Al Bitar, vice president of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy and former UAE Ambassador to China, the key to being a successful diplomat in today’s world is being an influential, ethical and capable individual.

“As a diplomat, you represent your leadership, your people, your country and your culture abroad. You also serve your country’s national interests with loyalty to the leadership and the nation,” Mr Al Bitar said..

The Academy aims to prepare a generation of exceptional diplomats, capable to take on the challenges facing not just the UAE but the international arena.

“The citizens of a country expect their diplomats and soldiers to keep them safe, hence a diplomat should know that failures in handling a foreign policy could lead a nation to conflict or war”.

The former Ambassador to China recognised the UAE’s pragmatic approach of the towards its allies and neighbouring nations one that has “enabled the country to build strong relations and play a key role in finding solutions to regional and international issues”.

Mr Al Bitar called upon the students to develop good geopolitical awareness in a changing world to be successful diplomats.

The future generation of diplomats must be capable of mastering traditional diplomatic skills and 21st century skills, while also showing good signs of judgment and robust understanding of international affairs.

Mr Al Bitar believes that the next generation must be influential leaders and communicators.

“They can set out a vision, build and mobilise networks, relationships and coalitions to achieve specific goals, and organize and motivate staff and stakeholders to achieve them”.

But diplomats must be empathetic listeners who build trust by being honest and authentic, and can write and speak persuasively using multiple media.

They are required to be creative in order to be able to think critically and outside the box, and adapt flexibly to changing circumstances.

And finally, a good diplomat must be “courageous and resilient under pressure and willing to convey inconvenient truths to promoting their country’s interests”.

Therefore, the Academy has a “responsibility to equip future UAE diplomats with the skills they need to fight for peace, tolerance and coexistence. They must learn from history, and from previous generations of diplomats from this region and beyond”.

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