Seventh run of the Programme for Foreign Diplomats
The MFA Diplomatic Academy welcomed 30 diplomats from all over the world to attend the seventh run of the Programme for Foreign Diplomats (PFD) from 28 July to 2 August 2019. The participants were briefed on developments in Singapore and ASEAN. This was complemented by various site visits to understand more about Singapore. They had fun at a social night-out with their Singaporean counterparts. As a special treat, they also visited the Bicentennial Experience, which presented Singapore’s rich and storied history in an unforgettable immersive theatrical experience.
Launched in 2013, the annual PFD aims to bring young foreign diplomats to see Singapore first-hand and forge links with their Singaporean counterparts. Participants also interact with ministers, eminent practitioners and academics, who share their knowledge on Singapore and the Southeast Asia region, as well as their personal experiences on diplomatic tradecraft.
Valedictorians for this year, Isis Gonsalves and Majed Bamya, reminded us that beyond the rich programme over the week, what is even more precious are the ties and friendships that they have formed with one another during the programme. At the end of the week, in response to the question “If Singapore disappeared, would anyone care?” Isis concluded, “… to respond to the idea that if Singapore disappeared no one would notice – I would wish to respectfully disagree. For me, particularly as a diplomat from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a Small Island Developing State, Singapore’s presence is meaningful and continues to inspire. In the Caribbean we have a saying, originating in Jamaica, that goes “we likkle but we tallawah” – meaning that we are small but we are strong-willed and can do anything we set our minds to. It is a refusal to be constrained by the smallness of our countries. I recognise this same spirit in Singapore. “
Ms Isis Gonsalves, Counsellor and Political Coordinator of the Permanent Mission of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations in New York, reflected on the programme on behalf of her cohort at the closing ceremony. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
Mr Majed Bamya, First Counsellor of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations in New York, shared his poetic views on participating in the PFD at the closing ceremony. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
PFD 2019 participants at the closing ceremony. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
Mr Ehsan Kareem, Assistant Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan; Mr Saeed Ur Rahman, First Secretary of the High Commission of Pakistan in Singapore, chatting with Ambassador-at-Large Mr Ong Keng Yong, Singapore’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to Pakistan. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
Mrs Rena Antwi-Donkor, Foreign Service Officer, Ghana, with Mr Hawazi Daipi, Singapore’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to Ghana. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
Ms Moumita Zeenat, Senior Assistant Secretary from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, together with High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Singapore Mr Md Mustafizur Rahman, and Singapore’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to Bangladesh Mr Derek Loh. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
Participants next to the Singapore City Model at the Singapore City Gallery in the URA Centre. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
Trying out fire controls at the Singapore Aviation Academy. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy
Respite at the Gardens by the Bay. Photo Credit: MFA Diplomatic Academy