The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) started the year by organizing a Seminar-Workshop Series on Critical Thinking, Futures Thinking, Annual Business Planning, and Ways Forward for its personnel.

This series of seminars and workshops was organized to empower FSI personnel to formulate more innovative training programs and research work responsive to the Department’s evolving needs.

It was also intended to enable the Institute’s different Divisions to develop a more dynamic work culture, improve their camaraderie and teamwork, and help develop common goals for the future of the Institute.

Finally, the said series would facilitate the formulation of an innovative, ambitious, relevant, and realistic Annual Business Plan for 2020, anchored on the FSI’s Strategic Plan, and put the Institute at the forefront of progressive training and policy research at par with its counterparts.

Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas facilitated the Seminar-Workshop Series on Critical Thinking and Futures Thinking, and Annual Business Planning on 06, 07, and 21 January 2020 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library and FSI Training Rooms 554-557, with a series of lectures and group activities.

Seminar-Workshop on Critical Thinking and Futures Thinking

Dr. Caparas facilitating discussions on the session “Where Do You See FSI in 10 Years”.

Dr. Caparas tackled the following topics in the session on Critical Thinking:

  1. Definition of critical thinking and non-critical thinking;
  2. Critical thinking styles, with the corresponding strengths for each style and areas for improvement;
  3. Critical thinking styles, including left/right brain thinking and whole brain thinking; and
  4. Working through the critical thinking process to build or analyze arguments.

In the session on Futures Thinking, she highlighted the following subjects:

  1. Understanding futures thinking;
  2. Gathering and analyzing signals of change;
  3. Identifying changes in the past to make improvements in the future; and
  4. Using the tools of futures thinking to conceive and envision the future FSI.

The first part of the Seminar-Workshop Series was concluded by Dr. Caparas by giving assignments to the participants to formulate the Annual Business Plans of their divisions for 2020 and maximizing the learnings they have acquired during the Critical Thinking and Futures Thinking sessions.

Seminar-Workshop on Annual Business Planning

Different Divisions of FSI presenting their Annual Business Plans. Dr. Caparas gave inputs on how to improve their plans.

The Seminar-Workshop on Annual Business Planning was conducted on 21 January 2020, during which each division presented their accomplishment reports, business plans and SWOT analysis.

During the Seminar-Workshop, Dr. Caparas highlighted the value of business strategic planning and laying down future plans, analyzing the Institute’s internal and external advantages and constraints, collaboration among different Divisions to arrive at solutions, adapting and adjusting according to the situation, and designating champions for the sound implementation of the business plan.

Dr. Caparas holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Psychology. She is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with invaluable experiences in organizational development as an HR trainer, OD practitioner, and author of three (3) books on Psychology/HR Management. Dr. Caparas is a recipient of various national awards, and is a professor at the University of Santo Tomas. She is a licensed Psychologist and a member of Psychology Association of the Philippines.[1]

Seminar-Workshop on Ways Forward

FSI Ways Forward was conducted at Camaya Coast, Mariveles, Bataan on 24-25 January 2020. It was facilitated and developed by an in-house ad hoc committee, which designed teambuilding activities and workshops to test the critical and futures thinking skills of FSI personnel and deepen the personnel’s sense of camaraderie.

The Ways Forward program commenced with each Division presenting its Annual Business Plans, followed by different intra- and inter-group activities throughout the two-day session.

FSI Personnel with Officer-in-Charge Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat at Camaya Coast.

[1] Retrieved from