Spreading Tanzania’s wings beyond borders

DAR ES SALAAM: DIPLOMACY is the pillar of international relations, serving as a peaceful alternative to armed conflict, and in this regard, Tanzania has made significant diplomatic strides in the past 60 years.

The country’s diplomats and non-diplomats have been working tirelessly to build relationships, facilitate negotiations and represent the nation’s interests on the global stage.

Diplomacy often involves representatives of different groups discussing issues such as conflict, trade, the environment, technology, or maintaining national security.

Mr Innocent Shoo, a lecturer at the Dr Salim Ahmed Salim Centre for Foreign Relations (CRF), emphasised the significant role diplomatic colleges play in certifying and qualifying human resources working in foreign service.

According to Mr Shoo, diplomatic colleges are essential for training foreign service officers employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation. They also train private and public stakeholders on tailor-made programmes focused on promoting state interests.

“It is crucial to have a diplomatic college since it trains various cadres, such as newly appointed ambassadors and military attachés, to understand national interest, protocol, etiquette, diplomatic law, and diplomatic practices before assuming their positions in receiving states. They also encourage cooperation between nations and help maintain peace,” says Mr Shoo.

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He further explains that the CRF acts as the ministry’s think tank for issues requiring scholarly contributions. They conduct and organise symposiums and public talks to disseminate knowledge on economic diplomacy to the public. The college produces diplomats who have the opportunity to influence international policies, promote peace and contribute to global cooperation.

Mr Shoo notes that the CRF is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Co-operation, which is the Union ministry. He mentions that the college has a small office in Zanzibar and has been promoting the blue economy agenda, gas exploitation, and tourism to raise Zanzibar’s profile.

Additionally, he highlights the college’s efforts in promoting Kiswahili, trade, and investment in the cultural economy. To maintain the Union, Zanzibar has agreed to provide land for building a diplomatic college, which will be a sister college of the CFR in Zanzibar.

Mr Shoo mentions that the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), a public training centre under the President’s Office, Constitution, Legal Affairs, Public Service, and Good Governance in Zanzibar, has invited CRF lecturers to train their students. To emphasise this collaboration, the CRF, in partnership with IPA, will hold a symposium on April 30th this year to commemorate 60 years of the Union in Diplomacy and Sustainable Development of the Blue Economy.

He also points out that some foreign missions have offices in Tanzania mainland and consulates in Zanzibar to facilitate services.

Ms Edna Mafuwe, a diplomatic graduate, emphasises the importance of the CRF as an institution that produces graduates serving in foreign and international entities. She urges the government to expand the scope of programmes offered to help graduates secure jobs in the private sector.

Ms Mafuwe highlights the centre’s primary function of promoting development, awareness and understanding of international relations issues at regional and international levels. She underscores the importance of diplomats as pivotal tools for conflict resolution and emphasises the significance of open communication and compromise.

Mr Godwin Amani, a lecturer at the college, explains that the CRF was originally established to fight for independence, eliminate colonial rule, and implement Tanzanian policies. He emphasises the college’s role in promoting economic diplomacy, business and social relations.

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Mr Amani stresses that the college serves as a think tank centre to train various individuals, including ambassadors and military personnel, to interpret the country’s policies. He mentions that the college trains all Tanzanians from Mainland and Zanzibar.

Moreover, Mr Amani highlights the college’s emphasis on the Union and its priorities for ambassadors and diplomats appointed to work abroad. He mentions the blue economy as one of the courses offered at the college to enable ambassadors and embassy staff to promote the agenda.

He explains that the effectiveness of diplomats is measured by their efforts to influence business, attract investors, and increase the number of foreign tourists in the country. In addition to Tanzanian students, the college has been receiving students from various African countries, including Mozambique, Namibia, Palestine, South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Kenya, Comoros, Libya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mr Amani adds that the college also provides short-term training for foreigners who wish to work or learn about the country’s policies.

Dr Stephen Minja emphasises that a diplomatic college helps maintain and enhance economic and technical cooperation with other nations. He underscores the importance of diplomacy and cooperation among nations in creating international agreements and protocols to address challenges.

Dr Minja points out that diplomats can avoid or reduce conflict and resolve minor disputes without involving third parties. He highlights diplomacy as the foundation for effective interactions, facilitating peaceful conflict resolution and promoting international cooperation.

He notes that due to the country’s diplomacy, both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar have been peaceful due to diplomatic communication.

Since its establishment in 1978, the CRF has produced over 3,500 graduates at different levels, including Bachelor and Master’s degrees in International Relations Management, Master’s Degree in Economic Diplomacy, Ordinary Diploma, Certificate level, and Senior Foreign Officers. More than 500 graduates from Mainland and Zanzibar have become ‘Career Diplomats’ working in various areas inside and outside the country.

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