Insights from the 7th ASEF Public Diplomacy Training held in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
After successfully completing the 8-week, highly intensive course on “Public Diplomacy in Asia-Europe Relations“, 32 junior diplomats and civil servants from 27 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Partners convened face-to-face in the historical city of Siem Reap in Cambodia for the 7th Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Public Diplomacy Training.
The Face-to-face Training, which ran from 21 to 25 October, built on the practical lessons learned during the online course, including the various tools and strategies for shaping the perception of foreign public about their countries, and for making their domestic policies better understood abroad. The Training also gave the participants a unique networking opportunity to connect with other diplomats and civil servants from across Asia and Europe.
Experienced trainers from the National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE) and the DiploFoundation (Diplo) led multiple sessions of the Training and contributed to the successful implementation of the Training programme.
Trainers from NCRE presented the key findings drawn from the results of public opinion surveys, the analysis of news items in major media outlets, as well as insights from face-to-face interviews with influential people on cross-continental perceptions. Meanwhile, trainers from Diplo engaged the participants in interactive training simulations, which ranged from historical to modern public diplomacy campaigns.
Moreover, an immersion in the Khmer culture was one of the key highlights of the Training. Siem Reap – the former capital of the Khmer Empire that thrived in the territories of what is now known as Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam during the Middle Ages – provided the most ideal setting for a first-hand learning on cultural diplomacy. A tour of the Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument, was integrated in the programme. The excursion was complemented with an enlightening lecture on the Khmer Empire and a delightful dinner in the spirit of Khmer cuisine and culture. Together they comprised the cultural diplomacy component of the Training.
This year’s ASEFPDT7 was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia (MFA.IC) and welcomed not only the 32 participants, but also high-ranking career diplomats and speakers. H.E. Ms CHRING Botum Rangsay, Under Secretary of State of the MFA.IC Cambodia, officially opened the Face-to-face Training.
A high-level panel on “The Role of Public Diplomacy in Enhancing Asia-Europe Connectivity” culminated the Training. The panellists were: H.E. Mr Fabrice FILLIEZ, Ambassador of Switzerland to Singapore; H.E. Mr CHHEM KIETH Rethy; Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister of the MFA.IC Cambodia; and Ms ZUO Wenxing, Political Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Cambodia.
ASEF is sincerely grateful to the entire team of the MFA.IC Cambodia, headed by Mr CHEUY Vichet, ASEF Governor for Cambodia, for having proven their excellent logistical, administrative and organisational skills. The Ministry’s full support and unparalleled hospitality, as well as its staff’s dedication, largely contributed to the success of the Training.
We are looking forward to next year’s 8th ASEF Public Diplomacy Training (ASEFPDT8). For more information, please click this link or follow the hashtags #ASEFPDT7 and #ASEFPDT8.