The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) started the year by implementing its first Seminar-Workshop Series on Critical Thinking, Futures Thinking, Annual Business Planning, and Ways Forward in January 2020.

As the Institute commits itself to the highest standards in management and service delivery, FSI has been pursuing its goals of building a more dynamic workforce and innovative work environment through the following Learning and Development (L&D) Programs:

(1) Seminar-Workshop on Internalizing Core Values, Values-Driven Leadership, and Transforming the Culture of Complacency in the Workplace, 19 and 20 February 2020 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library

This seminar-workshop aimed to help sustain the Institute’s ISO certification status by equipping the participants with the competencies to promote a conducive work environment with high productivity and to deliver efficient, responsive, and quality services.

The seminar-workshop was key for FSI to re-evaluate its Mission, Vision, and Core Values. This review helped determine whether or not the Institute’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values were still relevant to the Institute and its personnel.

To prepare for the said session, each of the Institute’s Divisions held a pre-seminar brainstorming. During the seminar-workshop, all proposals were presented, refined, and short-listed based on relevance and other considerations.

FSI updated its Mission and Vision statements and reaffirmed its Core Values as follows:

  • Updated Mission Statement: To instill global confidence in the Philippine foreign service.
  • Updated Vision Statement: By 2026, FSI will be a leading institution in Asia for diplomatic training and foreign policy research.
  • Reaffirmed Core Values: Patriotism, Integrity, Professionalism, Excellence, and Dedication.

Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas, a licensed psychologist, author of psychology books, and an accredited HR trainer, discussed the importance of each of the Institute’s core values and facilitated activities to help the participants internalize them.

She emphasized the role of these values as tools to help FSI’s personnel embrace dynamism, new and more efficient ways of doing things, and a willingness to step out of their comfort zone. FSI employees also worked on their Value Management Action Plan and identified which practices must be discontinued, sustained, and started, as they promised to uphold FSI’s core values.

Maria Vida G. Caparas (center) facilitating a preliminary activity to help set the expectations of the participants.
Participants form the Administrative and Financial Services Division working on their Value Management Action Plan.

(2) Seminar-Workshop on Effective Written Communication, 10 March 2020, FSI.

To further complement the learnings from the seminar-workshop on Values, the Institute also conducted a seminar-workshop on honing FSI employees’ written communication skills.

This Seminar-Workshop on Effective Written Communication aimed to teach participants the basic rules for drafting internal and external communications, including press releases; to enable the participants to understand the different styles appropriate to each communication medium (e.g., letter, email, and text message) and to each target audience; and to develop the ability of the participants to communicate more effectively with their colleagues, staff, supervisors, clients, resource persons, and counterparts using verbal and nonverbal means.

Assistant Professor Marella Therese Tiongson of the Department of English and Comparative Literature of the University of the Philippines Diliman facilitated the seminar-workshop.

  • She highlighted the fundamental aspects in preparing and formulating written communications.
  • She featured some frameworks and models on how to organize and briefly articulate ideas with clarity.
  • She tackled the typical pitfalls in writing, specifically on grammar and communication structure.
  • She emphasized that writing a communication in the workplace should involve complete staff work and submission of drafts with minimal corrections, as well as the critical roles of the supervisors in the process of proofreading documents.
  • She facilitated hands-on activities, such as drafting press releases, memorandas, and letters of invitation.

As part of the activity’s practical application, groups presented their outputs, which were evaluated and given feedback by Professor Tiongson, Officer-in-Charge (Director-General) Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat, and the other participants.

A group of participants drafting their assigned communication medium.

(3) The Institute’s Other L&D Activities for its personnel

The Institute plans to implement other L&D activities in 2020 to support its personnel in delivering efficient services for its clientele. Among the training programs in the pipeline are projecting the name of FSI with pride and appropriate branding, taking care of their mental and emotional well-being, and managing one’s finances to balance present and future needs.