Training on diplomatic communication, protocol and etiquette took place in Gaborone from 25-27 August 2015. The three-day programme covered various practical issues that are critical to effective diplomatic conduct, including topics such as official communication, personal diplomacy, business and social etiquette, cross-cultural communication and effective networking.
The training was attended by 41 officials from various Directorates and Units including the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs; Budget and Finance; Human Resources and Administration; Food Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Infrastructure and Services Directorates; as well as the Gender; Information and Communication Technologies; and Conference Services Units. Through interactive sessions the participants engaged in peer-to-peer-learning exercises, and on the final day they delivered practical sessions on how to organise signing ceremonies; how to organise an official luncheon/dinner; as well as visiting protocol and protocol considerations for big conferences. The participants considered the training a resounding success recommending that the training should be held regularly and offered to officials at all levels in the Secretariat.
The training took place under the facilitation of an experienced external consultant and facilitator, Dev Chamroo, from the Republic of Mauritius. The training workshop was opened by Mr Clement Kanyama, Director of Budget and Finance in the SADC Secretariat, who in his remarks, noted that "amongst the several duties of the SADC Secretariat that are prescribed under Article 14 of the SADC Treaty is "the representation and promotion of SADC". This duty applies to all SADC staff whether or not we happen to report under a particular Directorate or another". He reminded the training participants of their role as SADC Secretariat Staff in driving and pursuing the regional development Agenda, in partnership with various stakeholders. He emphasised this, saying "this training initiative is meant to remind us of who we are, what are supposed to do, and how to do it, and above all HOW TO SAY it in the context of SADC as a regional institution. It is supposed to remind us that we cannot perform our duties, whether at the office, in the Member States, with our development partners, and indeed, with the owners of SADC, who are the citizens of this region, with the complacency and nonchalance of ordinary communication."
Under its mandate to promote effective regional integration in the SADC political and security sectors, the Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs with the support of European Union is implementing a programme titled: "SADC Regional Political Cooperation". The programme is designed to strengthen the capacity of the SADC Secretariat and more specifically the Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs ("the Organ") in implementing its mandate. Diplomacy as the art and skills to promote peaceful means of coexistence and resolution of conflict is the underpinning value in the work of the Organ and the Secretariat at large. One of the Key Result Areas of the Regional Political Cooperation Programme is Conflict Prevention and Resolution which has a strong diplomatic practice component. The Mediation Support Unit (MSU) is the technical arm in the implementation of the Result Area's activities. It is in this context that the Mediation Support Unit organised the three-day internal training workshop on diplomatic communication, protocol and etiquette.