European Diplomatic Programme
17 ‑ 18 September 2020
Module I of the 21st European Diplomatic Programme was hosted virtually by the Federal Foreign Office during Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU (July to December 2020).
On 17 and 18 September, 60 young diplomats and 35 training officers from all EU countries came together. The 2020 European Diplomatic Programme consisted of three training sessions, which were led by GDL members.
Read more about the experiences of the young diplomats throughout the journey in our publication "Unfold Diplomacy" (PDF, 4 MB).
This training session analysed how the global community can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, despite crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and based on a cooperative, multilateral approach. It paid special attention to the role Europe and Europe’s recovery play in this regard.
With only ten years remaining, it will be challenging to implement the 2030 Agenda and to attain the SDGs. In order to do so, it is essential to cooperate across geographical and sectoral boundaries, including in multi-stakeholder partnerships with business, state, civil society and other stakeholders. Yet such cooperation is inherently challenging. Awareness and training will support the young diplomats when implementing the 2030 Agenda and more broadly help them to cooperate effectively for global sustainable development in their future professional lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the weaknesses and asymmetries of an already dysfunctional multilateral system. Since its outbreak, it has triggered a “national reflex” in many countries, most visible in various forms of “othering” and the surfacing of cultural biases.
All of these have delayed or impeded a coordinated, targeted and, above all, early response. Overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and improving preparedness for future crises and challenges requires new leadership skills, which means to bring together countries and regions meaningfully and peacefully in institutional set-ups that deliver impact and relate to people. The key ingredients for an impactful transformative leadership at a multilateral level are to overcome biases and to enhance the ability to connect to local realities in different cultural contexts.
This training session created an experiential space where participants explored their perspectives on the current multilateral system and co-created a vision of transformative leadership for successful crisis management and effective multilateralism on the basis of their own knowledge, experiences and the collective learning process.
To achieve a resilient society, it is important not to practise social silence “future only” orientation but to keep working on traumatic experiences from the past. Many civilian crises arise from unresolved post-conflict situations, which must be addressed and, if possible, resolved in the long term, in order to achieve recovery. Even conflicts that happened years or decades ago must still be considered to be “actors” in the present.
This training session aimed to present the principles of conflict management within the framework of dealing with problematic pasts, whereas the skills learned at this training are helping the diplomats not to replicate previous, ill-advised responses when it comes to post-conflict situations. They are now able to assess opposing viewpoints from a mediation perspective, working with creative methods to analyse and resolve the situation.
Susanne Salz’s key areas of expertise and interest are sustainable development and global governance. She is heading a project on multi-stakeholder-partnerships to implement the 2030 Agenda at GIZ.
Previously, Susanne started the United Actors, an innovative start-up in the global governance scene, worked at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, at the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the OECD and UN Volunteers. In 2012, Susanne managed the involvement of local governments in the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development on behalf of ICLEI.
In her free time Susanne enjoys rowing and competes in 100km rowing races on the Rhine.
Read more about Susanne in her blog article.
Sabrina Schulz is the Executive Director of SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network) Germany. She is an expert on climate, energy and biodiversity issues, climate diplomacy, and sustainable finance & economy. Sabrina also works as a lecturer, moderator and facilitator. In addition, she is the Chairwoman of the Board of econnext, a holding investing in sustainable and impact-oriented start-ups.
Between 2018 and 2020 Sabrina served as Head of the Berlin office at KfW, Germany’s national promotional and international development bank where she represented the interests of KfW Group in the political arena. Previously, from 2012 to 2018, she was the Director of the Berlin office at E3G‑Third Generation Environmentalism, an international non-profit climate and energy think tank. Before that, Sabrina worked in various policy capacities for think tanks and consultancies in Germany, the UK, the US and Canada. From 2009 to 2011, she was a Policy Advisor on climate and energy to the British High Commission in Canada and led a project on climate security.
Sabrina holds an MA in Public Policy and Management from the University of Potsdam, for which she also studied at the University of Konstanz and the Université catholique de Louvain, as well as an MA in International Politics and a PhD from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom.
She is an environmentalist, an internationalist and a yogini and volunteers as a Policy Fellow at 'Das Progressive Zentrum' in Berlin.
Marina Rudyak is a publicly engaged China and development cooperation scholar, policy advisor and systemic process and intercultural facilitator. She’s presently a lecturer at Heidelberg University’s Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies where she is finishing her PhD on Chinese foreign aid. She’s the author of several publications on China’s international development cooperation and the founder of the China Aid Blog where she translates and comments on important Chinese development policy debates. Marina Rudyak is also an internationally sought-after advisor for group processes on sustainable development.
Previously, she was a programme manager with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Beijing. She studied in Heidelberg University and Shanghai and holds an MA in Chinese Studies and Public Law, and is fluent in Russian, German, Chinese and English.
Ms Amarachi Adannaya Igboegwu is an Equity and Empathy Consultant with vast international training and coaching experience. Her primary goal is to empower both private and public institutions with a view to enhancing and building their human capacity by improving communication lines and promoting belongingness.
Her doctoral research study connects critical self-reflection and self-knowledge to the conscious teaching of elements that are necessary for dealing with structural racism. She has pioneered pre-service teacher training courses on the topic of conscious teaching, led workshops and given talks on the importance of critical self-reflection and the impact of implicit bias in daily life.
Find out more on her opinion on responsible leadership here.
Stefan Cibian believes that together we can generate social change and inspire our communities. He is passionate about bringing together global experiences and everyday local activities and does this through his work in research, consulting and volunteering.
Stefan has a background in development, international relations, political science and law and received his MA and a PhD from Central European University. His research focuses on peacebuilding, statehood and development in Africa. He is also involved in civil society activities, focusing on community development and resilience. Stefan is director at Cibian Consulting and co-initiator of the Făgăraş Research Institute. He is a visiting lecturer in international development at Babeş-Bolyai University.
Previously Stefan was an Academy Robert Bosch Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House.
Dr Banu Pekol’s work focuses on peacebuilding and conflict transformation in relation to contested cultural heritage. Her work spans cultural heritage research on difficult pasts and projects that develop creative and research-based results, specialising in cultural diplomacy, contested heritage interpretation and management. She has over a decade of experience with different cultures at numerous multicultural heritage sites.
Banu currently works at the Berghof Foundation, on intercultural and interreligious conflict transformation and peace education. She was previously a Historical Dialogue and Accountability fellow at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.
She is a co-founder of the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (KMKD), which was established in order to respond to the urgent need to protect and preserve cultural heritage at risk. She has worked as a cultural manager at KMKD, where her work included managing creative as well as research–based strategies to preserve heritage, especially of contested heritage sites, and to find concrete ways for communities to embrace and preserve heritage, regardless of the ethnic or religious community that built it.
She was a trainer in the 2020 European Diplomatic Programme, an elected member on the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab (2019-2021) and is a BMW Responsible Leader.
Banu Pekol holds a BA from the Courtauld Institute of Art and PhD from Istanbul Technical University. She was a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow on Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace-building and the Arts and has been awarded the Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art Award; a Hellenic Ministry of Culture Grant; the Otto Gründler Award; and grants from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Bodossaki Foundation.
Julie August is a graphic designer and art curator. She works as a graphic designer for publishing houses and architects, as well as cultural and social projects, and also organises exhibitions. Before moving to Buenos Aires, she lived in Berlin for 15 years. As art director at the small left-wing publishing house Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, she converted part of her home into a project space for contemporary artists.
The 18m gallery led her to other curatorial projects, first in Albania and Serbia, and now in Argentina and Germany. Together with Rachel Kohn, she has been directing the women artists’ network “Frauenmuseum Berlin” for eight years. She studied literature and art history in Munich and graphic design in Leipzig. She has a 24-year-old daughter and is married to the Argentine filmmaker Liliana Furió. In addition to her cultural activities, she sees a profound necessity to participate in social and human rights issues.
Learn more about Julie in this article.
Vesna Teršelič is the founder and director of the Croatia-based organisation Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past. The central aim of her work is to establish factual truth about the war and to play a role in shifting the discussion from the level of dispute over facts towards a dialogue on interpretations, as well as to support survivors and advocate acknowledgment of the suffering of victims of war crimes. In doing so, she is continuing her earlier work as Director of the Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb, and as founder and coordinator of the Anti-War Campaign in Croatia.
Since 1985, she has focused on organising for social change by advocating environmental protection, affirming women’s rights and promoting human rights. As one of the initiators of RECOM, a non-political regional coalition of civil society organisations and individuals working to establish a fact-finding commission into the Yugoslav wars, she has been campaigning for years to establish the facts about war crimes and human rights violations committed in former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001.
She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1998 for her efforts in building peace and affirming the right to truth, justice and remembrance in post-Yugoslav countries, after having been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.