NATO supports first regional summer school for junior diplomats from Central Asia and Afghanistan
The first regional summer school for junior diplomats from Central Asian countries, Afghanistan and Mongolia was launched on 7 June on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan. The theme of the 10-day course was “Diplomacy of the 21st Century: Central Asia in the Context of Globalization”.
The event brought together 22 participants from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. All were competitively selected from among applicants below First Secretary rank with a background in diplomacy, international relations, economics, security, law and political science.
The Rector of the Kyrgyz Diplomatic Academy, Nurlan Aitmurzaev, moderated the opening session while the NATO Liaison Officer in Central Asia, Alexander Vinnikov, gave a presentation on NATO’s engagement with Central Asian partners and Afghanistan. Other speakers at the opening included the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Kyrgzystan, Alexander Avanessov; the Head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Centre in Bishkek, Sergei Kapinos; the ambassadors of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and the Consul General of Mongolia.
During the course, students will attend lectures and training from senior officials, ambassadors, heads of international organisations and academic experts. In addition to learning about the Alliance and its partnerships from NATO representatives, the students will have the opportunity to hear directly about international development from World Bank officials; conflict prevention and crisis management from UN Development Programme (UNDP) officials; regional security challenges and the Ferghana Valley from OSCE representatives; United States (US) foreign policy in Central Asia and the New Silk Road initiative from US Embassy and US Agency for International Development (USAID) officials; regional projects and integration processes in Central Asia from Moscow State Institute for International Relations and Russian Embassy representatives; and EU-Central Asia cooperation, as well as negotiation and dialogue from French and Estonian academic experts.
Based on the experience of similar diplomatic summer schools in other regions including the Balkans, this course has the potential to become an annual event, enhancing skills and providing a much-needed platform for regional cooperation and networking among foreign policy professionals.
The event was organised by the Diplomatic Academy under the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the joint support of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, the office of the NATO Liaison Officer in Central Asia, the UNDP in Kyrgyzstan, and the OSCE Centre in Bishkek.
Continued dialogue with Kyrgyz authorities
During his visit to Kyrgyzstan, the NATO Liaison Officer met with NATO embassies accredited in Bishkek as well as representatives of the UNDP, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for Central Asia, the European Union Delegation, and the OSCE Centre in Bishkek to discuss topics of mutual interest concerning Kyrgyzstan and the wider region.
Mr Vinnikov also held meetings with First Deputy Secretary of the Defence Council Kubanychbek Oruzbayev, Deputy Foreign Minister Erines Otorbayev and Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on International Affairs Kanybek Imanaliyev. Discussions, started during Mr Vinnikov’s previous visits, focused on bilateral cooperation within the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, the development of existing and future NATO projects in Kyrgyzstan, as well as regional security issues of common interest, including the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Ukraine.
In addition, the NATO Liaison Officer paid a visit to the recently launched NATO-Kyrgyzstan English-language programme for serving military officers, where he engaged with course participants and teaching staff. During the same week the office of the NATO Liaison Officer supported and participated in the regional expert conference “Politics and International Relations in Central Asia” at the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in Bishkek.