For the fourth year in a row, young diplomats from all over the world gathered in Montenegro in order to participate at the Montenegrin Summer School for Young Diplomats “Gavro Vuković“. Now rightly called a traditional event, the School this time brought together more than 50 diplomats from 35 countries of the world, as well as numerous prominent lecturers, among whom Jorge Sampaio, President of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and former president of Portugal; Hans Winkler, Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna; Paul Meerts, Professor at the Clingendael – the Netherlands Institute of International Relations and many other ambassadors and diplomats. They discussed diplomacy as a factor of security, stability and development in a changing environment, exchanged opinions and shared experiences related to the current security, political and economic aspects of development in the region and the world.
A joint endeavour of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, the Capacity Development Programme (CDP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway, the School took place from 6 – 11 July 2011, and lectures were held in Berane, Kolašin and Podgorica.
Milan Roćen, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro said at the official opening of the Summer School in Duke Gavro Vuković’s Memorial House in Berane: “I believe that the contacts and friendships that you will make during this School will contribute to the wellbeing of your countries. More importantly, I believe they will also be an important contribution to building happier, common European future of this region, as well as to building a better, more just world. New times bring new challenges, demanding new people who are capable of finding new answers. I am sure each one of you sees yourself and your role in these new processes.” Minister Roćen emphasized that the School was highly valued in the region, in Europe, as well as in the world. He reminded that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recently sent a special message to Montenegro, on the occasion of marking the 5th anniversary of its accession to the UN, in which, among other things, he thanked Montenegro ‘for hosting the internationally recognized Summer Diplomatic School of Gavro Vuković’. In addition, Minister Roćen quoted the U.S. President Barack Obama, who in a protocollary letter from December 2010, sent to the new Montenegrin ambassador in Washington, said: “The United States is grateful for the important role that Montenegro plays in the Balkan region as a contributor to regional stability. The Summer Diplomatic School programme provides a forum for young diplomats from the Balkan region and beyond to study and interact. It is one of the very few international fora in which representatives of every Balkan nation are able to come together to share ideas and build relationships. The programme will pay dividends in the future as these young diplomats become leaders and policy makers in their home countries.” Minister Roćen also expressed his gratitude to the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Switzerland and Greece who have recently sent letters of support for this project.
Kristine Blokhus, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to Montenegro said: “Active networking and strategic communication is essential in diplomatic affairs, particularly nowadays, when diplomacy is an ever-changing practice shaped by developments in the international community. Due to its nature the School will provide you with some new perspectives on your work as diplomats, and hopefully it will have an impact on your professional development and a greater understanding of your own potential. But, what I do hope above all is that you will make nice memories and new friendships that will last long after you come back to your countries. You, as a new generation of diplomats, have a tremendous chance to make your mark in society and to participate in the shaping of relations between countries in turbulent times. Therefore, my message to you would be to continue building connections, and to stay open to new ideas coming from your colleagues.” Blokhus also said that the UNDP was honoured to participate in the organization of this School four times in a row, contributing in this way to the promotion of Montenegro’s successful relationships with other countries in the region, members of the EU and worldwide. “UNDP in this country will continue to be a partner to the people and the Government on their path toward the EU, and in line with their commitment to the principles of sustainable and human development,” Blokhus concluded.
Vuka Golubović, Mayor of Berane said: “Contemporary Montenegro that was in a territorial sense largely shaped by the diplomatic efforts of Gavro Vuković recognized his efforts, and as a result of this we now have the Summer Diplomatic School named after him.”Welcoming the participants from all over the world, Golubović stated: “You are now in a city which is multi-ethnic, but also cosmopolitan. In Berane live in harmony Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniaks, Muslims, Roma, Egyptians, Ashkali, Albanians and Croats. With their everyday life, social events, mixed marriages, and by being best men and godfathers to each other, they prove that multiculturalism is long-established in our town.”
* * *
Participants in the Fourth Summer School for Young Diplomats came from Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, China, Israel, Australia, Italy, Estonia, Greece, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Malta, France, Great Britain, Russia, Turkey, Germany, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Egypt, Albania, Slovenia, Croatia, Kosovo UN ATSCR 1244, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia and Montenegro.
Lecturers at the Fourth Summer School for Young Diplomats were prominent practitioners and theoreticians of international politics: Radoslav Raspopović, Director of the Historical Institute of Montenegro spoke about the history of Montenegro and its diplomacy, Paige E. Reffe, founder of the Reffe Group spoke about the evolution of the process of Euro-Atlantic Integration over the past 15 years, Sue K. Brown, Ambassador of the USA to Montenegro spoke about the importance of constant learning and training models for young diplomats; Kristine Blokhus, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to Montenegro spoke about human development; Sergio Barbanti, Ambassador of the Republic of Italy to Montenegro held a lecture about the relations between the Balkans and the European Union; Tibor Csaszar, Ambassador of Hungary to Montenegro spoke about challenges from the perspective of the Hungarian presidency of the EU; Ehtel Halliste, international expert from Estonia held a workshop on communications methods and tools for effective diplomacy; Martin Pammer, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Montenegro held a presentation on how to run a small embassy in the time of small budget; Hans Winkler, Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna spoke about development trends of diplomacy in the 21st century; about regional initiatives and multilateral cooperation in the Balkans spoke Jasminka Kronja, member of the Executive Board of the European Movement in Serbia; Jaroslaw Lindenberg, Chargé d’affaires of the Republic of Poland to Montenegro spoke about tasks and goals of the current Polish presidency of the European Union; Ambassador Michael Steiner, Special Representative of the German Federal Government for Afghanistan and Pakistan spoke about changes in the traditional role of diplomacy in a changing world; Paul Meerts, Professor at the Clingendael – the Netherlands Institute of International Relations held a workshop on diplomatic negotiations, while the closing lecture at the Faculty of Law in Podgorica will be held on Monday by Jorge Sampaio, President of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, former president of Portugal.
During the School participants also visited museums in the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro Cetinje, in order to learn about the history of Montenegrin state and diplomacy.
* * *
At the official closing of the Summer School certificates of attendance were handed over to 54 participants. On this occasion, Nebojša Kaluđerović, State Secretary for Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro said: “I hope that the experiences you gained and the lessons you learned about harmony and mutual understanding, as well as the friendships you made, will contribute to your professional development future, and I hope you will continue acquiring new skills and prove to be good diplomats. It is important to emphasize that the Montenegrin Summer School for Young Diplomats will now be an integral part of the regional Action Plan of the Alliance of Civilizations for the Mediterranean.”
Jorge Sampaio, President of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and former president of Portugal said: “I think this is an excellent idea. We have to praise the Norwegian Government, the UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro because they kept launching this every year. With good professors, as it is the case, and with good substance of course, the School needs to be supported in its further work. The friendly relations made here are very important, and I hope they will stay forever.”
“I was impressed with the active participation of the participants, who brought up and openly discussed various perspectives on the presented topics, particularly the process of Euro and Euro-Atlantic Integrations. It was clear how the same question can take on different meanings for participants from different countries – and I expect that the different perspectives you each put forward will have enriched your understandings considerably. It gives us all an insight into the real workings of diplomacy in a changing environment. I am confident that this year’s participants will contribute to strengthening ties between diplomatic services, developing regional cooperation and achieving the vision of a free and prosperous world,” Kristine Blokhus, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to Montenegro underlined.
Vuka Golubović, Mayor of Berane concluded: “Respectable diplomatic envoys, Berane and Montenegro are looking forward to welcoming you next year. Please, come in greater numbers. I would also like to thank your ministries, wherever you are from. And wherever you go, take with you and share your impressions about us, about Berane. That will be our best affirmation.”