In 2010 the Foreign Ministry will support the training of 10 Afghan and 15 Palestinian diplomats in a two-week programme at the Estonian School of Diplomacy. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the goal of the training is to share Estonia’s experiences with building up state institutions and a foreign service, thereby helping to increase the capability of the Afghan government and Palestinian Authority to communicate with the international community.
In its civil co-operation with Afghanistan, Estonia has prioritised the areas of health care, education, and the establishment of good governing practices. Foreign Minister Paet stated that in order to successfully achieve the development of its nation, Afghanistan must be able to depend on an effective foreign service. “Developing a foreign service is one of the key elements during a period that is becoming a crucial time for the future of Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries,” said the foreign minister. Paet emphasised that in order for the building up of the Afghan nation to be successful, the civil contribution is absolutely necessary.
Foreign Minister Paet stated that Estonia’s co-operation with the Palestinian Authority is becoming more and more active. “In October of 2009, within the framework of Estonia’s first development co-operation project with Palestine, 20 officials from the Palestinian Authority were introduced to the experiences of developing Estonia’s e-government,” Paet noted, expressing hope that the training designed for the diplomats of the Palestinian Authority would be as successful as the previous project. Contacts formed within the course of the training help to intensify co-operation between the nations even more.
The diplomats from Afghanistan and Palestine will gain knowledge about diplomacy, international relations, and communicating with the EU and NATO. They will also be introduced to the principles of the operative functioning of the EU and NATO and Estonia’s experiences in building up its own foreign service. The visitors to Estonia will also meet with representatives from various Estonian institutions.
The Estonian School of Diplomacy has had multi-faceted co-operation with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia since 2003. Scholarship programmes and training courses have been organised for the diplomats and state officials of these countries. The Estonian School of Diplomacy has also provided training for the diplomats of Iraq and Kosovo.
Funding for the training for Afghan and Palestinian diplomats is being allocated from the Foreign Ministry’s budget for development and humanitarian aid.