In life as a diplomat, you sometimes stumble upon once-in-a-lifetime experiences – I certainly did when I participated in the 68th Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD) in India this year. This program is the flagship program of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Ministry of External Affairs of India.
Twice a year the Indian FSI invites certain countries to nominate diplomats to attend this flagship course. In the batch I attended, there were 55 participants from 54 countries. The training had a strong sense of South-South cooperation, and was attended by primarily non-aligned countries (countries that aren’t the traditional world powers).
The 68th PCFD ran from 16 September – 11 October 2019 this year in New Delhi. Most of the classes were held on campus of the Indian FSI. There were lots of trips in and around Delhi, such as to the International Solar Alliance of FSI, the Indian Commission on Elections, media houses and cultural sites. There were also two weekend immersion trips – one to Jaipur, Rajasthan, and the other to Agra (where Taj Mahal is).
During the month I was in India, I had access to some of the country’s greatest minds. It was a full course on International Relations and Diplomacy. Also, the sheer energy and fun of having diplomats from over fifty different countries was amazing. You could feel the electricity from the fraternity of diplomats sizzling in the air.
The Indian FSI were perfect hosts, and were some of the best people I have ever worked with. Not only were there high-ranking ambassadors or Foreign Service Officers among the people running the FSI, but some absolutely sterling academics as well.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is probably worth a thousand pictures. So check out the video I embedded above. It was a video I hastily whipped up to present during the valedictory ceremony of the program which was attended by the diplomatic corps.
I shot most of the footage from my iPhone and my trust Sony point-and-shoot. Most of the still photographs came from my Serbian co-participants.
There was also a 3-minute country presentation which I presented on the last day along with the other 3-minute presentations of my co-participants.
If I had a little time, I would tweak the two videos more, but in any case I love the outcomes, warts and all. And I think they came out pretty slick.
Most of the 3-minute presentations of the other countries consisted of PowerPoint presentations. Most of the sharing of experiences during the valedictory consisted of going up onstage to talk for a couple of minutes. I like video since all the preparation goes beforehand.
I had zero sleep on my last full night in India and two nights prior to that night working on my videos. It was not a fun way to spend the last nights, when they should have been filled with tearful goodbyes. But hey, this video I embedded up here was my gift to my co-participants and the Indian FSI.
All in all, the PCFD was simply awesome. Awesome.
Watch ’em videos. ‘Nuf said.