‘Diplomats Must Develop the Attribute of Adaptability, Versatility…,’ Says Foreign Minister Kamara;

Liberia’s Foreign Minister says scholars of international relations and diplomacy must develop the attribute of adaptability, versatility and the ability to respond promptly to inevitable and ever-changing situations utilizing a mixture of practical experience and constant professional consultations.She stressed that it is becoming increasingly complex to analyze global situations relying strictly on political theories and economic models looking at today’s world faced with more challenges than any of the preceding years.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Foreign Minister Marjon V. Kamara made the assertion at the graduation exercises of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute where 29 emerging diplomats completed nine-months of intensive training in diplomacy and international relations and were awarded post-graduate diplomas last Friday, January 20, 2017. The Institute also used the occasion to observe its 65th anniversary.
Foreign Minister Kamara stressed that the tool of diplomacy relies upon layers of professional approaches which will always require a cadre of trained service men and women in areas of security, protocol, international law, economic diplomacy, public diplomacy, human security, human rights, among others.
She further told the audience, which included members of the diplomatic and counselor corps accredited here, that the gathering to witness another important graduation exercise of Foreign Service Institute demonstrates government’s continuing effort to develop the capacity to respond to the daunting challenges of today; emphasizing that the Institute’s training focus has been on diplomacy relevant to the developing world, where the primary objective of diplomatic practice is geared toward bridging the divide between the developing and developed worlds through such means as the transfer of technology, capital, technological know-how, as well as the promotion of trade and tourism.
Minister Kamara encouraged the graduates to have an open mind to the many possibilities that await them; adding, “To tap into those possibilities, you have to cultivate and demonstrate a positive attitude, wherever you find yourselves as professionals. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or at a foreign mission but at any professional duty station which providence brings your way.”
Foreign Minister Kamara, however, noted that the Ministry faces a real deficit when it comes to fluency in languages required; noting that her administration is placing much emphasis and focus on expanding language training opportunities at the Institute which is currently working on the establishment of a language lab for the development of those skills.
For her part, the commencement speaker, United States Ambassador to Liberia, Her Excellency Ms. Christine Elder, proffered four observable ways, which she said have helped make her successful in her professional life.
She told the 29 graduates that wherever their paths may take them going forward to whatever positions they might occupy representing Liberia in any way, she thinks that those four principals that have guarded her in her professional career as a seasoned diplomat can also work for them.
She urged them to adapt well to working with those who have very different personalities from their own; pack their ego at the front door of public service as it’s no longer about you, rather it’s about your country; encouraged graduates not to fear change in spite of the fundamentals of diplomacy, in many ways being constant; and urged them to stay focused to make the most of whatever opportunity, primarily always be willing to learn new things.
Ambassador Elder narrated that in the 27 years of her diplomatic career, some of her most satisfying days have been working behind the curtains with representatives of other nations to push the agenda of her nation.
She told them that the technologies which are now relied upon daily to make work easier were not available when she joined the foreign service in the 1980s. She, however, stressed that despite the advancement in technology, the fundamentals in diplomacy remain the same; adding: “We diplomats communicate and this has not changed. We all interpret our countries’ policies to our host governments and explain the views of the countries in which we are accredited back to our governments; this communication process remains the same.”
Ambassador Elder told the graduates that all of the distinguished guests in the hall had not only come to celebrate and acknowledge the graduates’ accomplishments but to underscore their understanding of professional development.  “I think we all understand if we went about our lives and careers with the greater degree of skills we have acquired, the world would be a better place,” she said.
For her part, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, who is the valedictorian, extended her deepest gratitude to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Foreign Minister Kamara, and the diplomatic and consular corps near Monrovia for their making their nine-month training worthwhile.
She said their nine-month journey together was a worthwhile one as it allowed them on the one hand to glean the wisdom and knowledge required for the awesome responsibility of representation of their beloved nation and on the other hand to understand the patriotic service to God and country is the highest calling to which they should all strive to achieve.  She hoped that very soon a building will he constructed and dedicated to house the FSI.

Video of the day

All Liberia Party Standard Bearer Benoni Urey speaking to media executives at his residence in Careysburg.