13 Mar 2006

University of South Pacific to introduce course on diplomatic skills

7:53 am on 13 March 2006

The skills of diplomats in the region are to be strengthened with the addition of a new course at the University of the South Pacific.

The Professor of Governance at USP, Graham Hassall, says very few countries, apart from Papua New Guinea, have foreign service training.

He says, for example, people who work in foreign ministries or departments, often have no training in diplomatic skills, in negotiations, in report writing, and in consular activities, and have to learn on the job.

Professor Hassall says there is a need to upskill diplomatic staff around the region because there are many difficult issues to deal with.

"With the complexity of people movement around the Pacific, with the complexity of issues between the Pacific states, and also, certainly with the Pacific as a region and the international community, there's a growing need for skills in diplomacy."

Professor Hassall says the course would run for four to five weeks and those participating would obtain a certificate in diplomacy.

And, he says an appointment of a former senior diplomat to run it, will be announced shortly.