As the current EU Council Presidency, Slovenia hosted Module I of the European Diplomatic Programme international conference at the Cankarjev dom congress centre in Ljubljana on 11-12 November 2021.
The two-day conference entitled "The EU as a global actor - strategic autonomy, resilience and multilateralism" brought together Slovenian and foreign experts in the field of foreign policy and science. The conference was attended by some 60 junior diplomats from EU member states, representatives of European institutions and heads of European diplomatic academies.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gašper Dovžan and Minister for Digital Transformation Mark Boris Andrijanič addressed the participants at the opening plenary session, with State Secretary Dovžan underlining the value of such programmes: “They offer a unique opportunity for young European diplomats to learn more about communication and negotiation skills, about EU priorities and activities and about developing personal connections”.
The conference focused on thematic clusters that are also priorities of the Slovenian Presidency: digital sovereignty, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, the green economy and the Western Balkans. These topics were addressed by domestic and foreign experts from specific fields, including climatologist Dr Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, CER Executive Director Ana Struna Bregar, Ambassador at Large for Climate Diplomacy at the EEAS Marc Vanheukelen, Director of International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence under the auspices of UNESCO Prof. John Shawe-Taylor, Ambassador Samuel Žbogar, and Director of the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education Dr Nataša Potočnik.
The European Diplomatic Programme aims to promote networking and strengthening the European spirit among the younger generation of diplomats. The meetings also provide an ideal opportunity to exchange views on new strategies in the field of diplomatic education and training between heads of European diplomatic academies. Launched in 1999, the European Diplomatic Programme takes the form of four modules that make up the academic year.