The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad (MOFA) yesterday commenced a three-day training to hone the diplomatic skills of the new batch of people appointed into Gambia's foreign mission.
The training, underway at a hotel in Kololi, was organised in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme for Gambian heads of missions (ambassadors and high commissioners), deputy heads of missions, counsellors, first secretaries and protocol officers.
Ousainou Darboe, minister of Foreign Affairs, said the aim of the training was to create a platform were the newly appointed officers can interact, share experience, success stories and good practice.
"It is also an opportunity to hone your diplomatic skills as well," he told the participants.
"It is gratifying to note that this training session is unique in that all the resource persons are not only citizens of The Gambia but significantly these are people who have excelled academically and professionally as diplomats and had held highest offices in the foreign services of our country either PS, ambassadors or ministers," lawyer Darboe said.
"I am confident that you can benefit immensely from their knowledge and experiences in interacting positively with them."
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a strategic and critical institution in the government's match to attain its development objective. For the ministry to be effective in executing its mandate, Darboe said its personnel must have the requisite skills to deliver effective and quality service to the nation.
Ebrima Ceesay, permanent secretary at the Office of the President, speaking on behalf of the secretary general and head of civil service, said diplomatic personnel and foreign officers are critical in the ongoing reform process of the government and their roles "are very relevant".
"As diplomats and foreign service officers, you do not only drive the Gambian foreign policy but also you are the ones to portrait the positive image of The Gambia for the outside world at the point of call," Mr Ceesay told the participants, adding that training is a critical factor for a diplomat and foreign service officer to become relevant in this dynamic world.
UNDP representative Nessie Golakai said the recent transition in The Gambia made it possible for the country to move from an autocratic regime to a dispensation that is based on democracy norms and values.
She said the role of ambassadors is not only to ensure and enforce the relationship with sisterly nations or to protect and promote the political, social and trade interest of their state, but also they are the face of value and norms of the state they represent.
"UNDP is very pleased to be associated with this training for the next three days giving our core mandate for capacity development," she said.