FCO Academy reaches out to missions

The FCO’s new Diplomatic Academy will use its “convening power” to “bring diplomats of different nations together to draw in the best expertise,” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said at the academy’s unveiling.

The Academy, the first in the Foreign Office’s history, will be a centre of excellence to equip Foreign Office staff with the skills to “put the FCO where it belongs – at the top of the league table of global diplomatic services,” said Hammond.

In setting up the Academy, the FCO drew on ideas from similar institutions around the world. The Academy also intends to “engage” with diplomatic missions based in London to draw on their expertise, a Foreign Office spokesperson told Embassy.

“One of the key elements of the new Academy is that we want to get better at sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas,” she said.

US Ambassador Matthew Barzun has already delivered a master class to the Diplomatic Academy and US Embassy staff participated in the newly-developed workshops on Understanding Parliament. The plan is to invite other diplomatic missions to take part.

The Academy also intends to arrange visits to London’s diplomatic missions for junior staff as part of a programme aimed at giving them experience of life in a diplomatic mission. The Dutch, Irish, French and Swedish embassies have already opened their doors for young FCO recruits.

The courses will be open to “key international partners” and the Academy will reach out to academic and other institutions to “draw on the best external expertise,” said Jon Davies, the Diplomatic Academy Director, at the launch.

Top broadcaster Jon Snow and Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency, have both given a lectures to the Academy. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will be a guest lecturer in October.

Courses will be available to staff online at all of the UK’s 270 overseas posts and will also be made available across Whitehall to enable civil servants working on international issues “to pursue the national interests overseas more effectively,” said Hammond.

For information on the Diplomatic Academy contact Jon Davies on Jon.Davies@fco.gov.uk