The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) recently completed its Basic Course on Economic Diplomacy (BCED), with more than half or 59.46% of its participants coming from the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA’s) Consular Offices (COs). This development is an indicator of the Institute’s success in expanding its reach during its shift to 100% digital learning.

Thirty-seven (37) DFA personnel attended BCED, which was conducted through synchronous sessions from 03-07 August 2020. Twenty-two (22) of them were from COs: Bacolod, Baguio, Cagayan De Oro, General Santos, La Union, Legazpi, Lipa, NCR-Northeast, NCR-West, San Nicolas, Santiago, and Tagum.

BCED is one of the specialized training programs in the annual calendar of FSI and, for this year, it aims to capacitate the foreign service personnel to adapt and perform their specialized diplomatic work in the “new normal.”

BCED presented to the participants the current economic market performance of the Philippines and of COVID-19’s impact on the country’s local and international relations. It also provided discussions on the concept, importance, and practice of economic diplomacy in the Home Office and at Post.

The Institute utilized Google Meet and Zoom platforms for the 20-hour training Course. The Institute likewise conducted test calls and technical runs with the participants and resource persons prior to the actual sessions to ensure that everyone had the necessary technological equipment to participate in the online lecture-discussions.

The set of resource speakers invited for the Course were from the public and private sectors in the Philippines and abroad.

With the convenience brought by the online learning modality, the Institute was able to widen its external partnerships and networks. Almost all of the resource persons were able to deliver their lectures synchronously without technical difficulties, showing their agility in adapting to the new way of doing things.

Left to right photos: Assistant Secretary Jesusa Susana V. Paez of DFA – Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations (OUIER) for the session on Economic Diplomacy Work in the Department; Secretary General Ruben Pascual of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for the session on Philippine Export of Goods; and Trade Service Officer Enrico Mariano, Commercial Attaché in Bangkok Philippine Embassy for the session on Market Research and Economic Intelligence.
Left: Director Reynaldo R. Cancio of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for the session on Philippines Vision for the 21st century. Right: Ms. Kathryna G. Manalo, General Manager of Potato Corner Philippines, for the session on Doing Business: Private Sector Perspective.
DFA personnel from the Home Office and Consular Offices in their virtual class picture for the Basic Course on Economic Diplomacy.
Some of the feedback from BCED participants, shared via Mentimeter.