ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Graduation Ceremony of the 40th Specialized Diplomatic Course was held at the Foreign Service Academy in Islamabad on Wednesday.
In his address at the Ceremony as the Chief Guest, the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the diplomats to be innovative and mould themselves according to modern demands of diplomacy to achieve goals efficiently and effectively.
The foreign minister said that a series of reforms have been instituted in the Foreign Ministry which is today more open to inputs for policy formulation.
Qureshi said that we are interacting with different segments of the society including the think tanks to get a fresh perspective.
However, he added that the foreign policy has to be led by the diplomats whilst accommodating the inputs from different stakeholders.
The foreign minister said that our diplomats need to be more articulate and effective team members who think out of the box and deliver results.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that we are employing images, graphics, and videos to better communicate with a wider array of audiences. He said that Specialized Cells including Crisis Management and Kashmir Cells have been established to deliver better results.
The foreign minister stressed that a better Civil Service is important to provide good governance. He said that the political leaders give their ideas and policies and it is the Civil Service that has to implement them.
Qureshi said that we want the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be such an institution that is strong enough to give the leadership that the nation requires.
The following the full text of Speech by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Graduation Ceremony of the 40th Specialized Diplomatic Course;
“Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood,
Director General, Foreign Service Academy,
Additional Secretary Admin, Imran Mirza
Officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Participants of the 40thSpecialized Diplomatic Course,
Assalam-o-Alaikum and Good Morning!
It is always a great pleasure to visit the Foreign Service Academy.
Let me begin by congratulating the 19 participants of the 40th Specialized Diplomatic Course on successful completion of training.
For the young probationers ready to take off on their professional flights, this is an important milestone.
In the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
Today, you are about to take your first steps on a life-long journey of self-actualization, intellectual enrichment and service to the nation and country.
It is said that diplomacy is not just a profession, or vocation. It is a lifestyle, a way of looking at things, and a calling.
The Foreign Service of Pakistan has a rich and honourable legacy of delivery for the country and its interests.
It is cliched, but true that Pakistani diplomacy often punches above its weight.
This legacy has to be carried forward, evolved and made even more productive.
We can do this only by maintaining the spirit, while adding to the substance, and changing and evolving to meet contemporary requirements.
You are entering the world of diplomacy at a moment of great ferment.
The world is in a state of flux.
The only certainty is that there is no certainty.
What was a “given” yesterday, cannot be taken for granted today.
The cycle of history is coming full circle.
The old world, the world of the twentieth century is perhaps unwinding, and giving way to a new era, with new opportunities and new threats.
As you enter the service, you will be required to navigate the geopolitical rapids, safeguard and advance national interests in a myriad different ways, and tackle the emerging challenges.
This is a heavy brief.
Never take your responsibilities and the expectations that the nation and the institution has of you, lightly.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As Foreign Minister, capacity building including through the Foreign Service Academy has been among my foremost priorities.
Thanks to our Chinese friends, I am happy that we were able to secure for you this premises offering far greater possibilities for intellectual pursuits, cultural activities and maintaining physical fitness.
I complement the Administration of the Ministry for diligently upgrading the premises, and making it usable. More is in the offing.
It is also a matter of satisfaction that the curriculum has been upgraded in line with modern requirements.
Review, Reform, and Renewal must be a continuous process.
We must imbibe the lessons, internalize them, and course correct, as a matter of habit, as second nature.
I have a vision for the Foreign Office, a Vision for you, as the leaders and torchbearers of tomorrow.
Vision FO seeks to upgrade the toolkit of our diplomacy.
Adopt digital technologies, modern means and tools of communication and networking to achieve goals more efficiently and effectively.
Under Vision FO, a series of reforms have been instituted.
The Foreign Office is today open to inputs for policy formulation
Foreign Policy itself is diversifying and pivoting to areas and issues that bring tangible benefits to the common man.
Public and Economic Diplomacy, are being mainstreamed.
It is sometimes said in a lighter vein that “a diplomat is someone who thinks twice – before saying nothing.”
I do not want you be such diplomats.
In fact, I want our diplomats to be articulate, effective team members who think outside the box in order to find solutions and deliver results.
However, when you do speak, it must reflect wisdom and intellect rather than emotions.
At the institutional level, the Foreign Office is now speaking differently and with greater effect.
In addition to words, we are employing images, graphics and videos to better communicate with a wider array of audiences.
Specialized cells and divisions, namely, the Strategic Communication Division, the Kashmir Cell and Crisis Management Cell are now operational.
For these Cells and Divisions to deliver effectively, for the Foreign Office to deliver effectively, continuous training and capacity building are vital.
And this is where the Foreign Service Academy must play its role.
It should be remembered that the performance of the Foreign Ministry depends on your collective efforts. As General Douglas MacArthur once said “a general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command …”. If the Foreign Ministry does well, it would be because of the competence of its officers.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
In conclusion, I would like our young diplomats to remember what the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had said regarding the foreign policy of Pakistan.
He had observed and I quote “Our object should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large. We have no aggressive designs against anyone. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.”