SOAS University of London

Emirates Diplomatic Academy hosts SOAS’s centenary celebration in Abu Dhabi

31 March 2017

Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s leading international relations and diplomacy, education, executive training and research institution, hosted a reception to mark the 100th anniversary of SOAS University of London.

Celebrating SOAS’s tradition of imparting knowledge on important issues concerning the region, the event at EDA incorporated an engaging panel discussion themed ‘Diplomacy in a Polarising World’.

Baroness Valerie Amos CH, Director of SOAS and Member of EDA Advisory Council, hosted a panel that included Mishaal Al Gergawi, Managing Director at the Delma Institute, Tom Fletcher, Special Advisor to the President of EDA, and Dr Leslie Vinjamuri, Director of the Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Relations and Chair of the International Relations Speaker Series at SOAS.

The panel discussed the rapidly changing international political landscape that has lately witnessed dramatic developments from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump as the US president. The lively debate produced key learnings on the ramifications of these events, their implications for future diplomats, as well as their impact on the UAE, the Middle East region, and international organisations.

Expressing her appreciation for EDA and the event, Baroness Valerie Amos said: “I would like to thank all at EDA who made tonight possible. SOAS has a long history of teaching and research on the Middle East, and we are pleased to have the opportunity, with EDA, to consider the skills and attributes necessary for diplomats in a rapidly changing and polarising world. Diplomats need to have the ability to work in many spheres to contribute to tackling global challenges, and helping to find solutions where they continue to evade us.”

Expressing his appreciation for SOAS’s work, His Excellency Bernardino León, President of EDA, said: “We are honoured to welcome these thought-provoking speakers here today and to host SOAS’s centenary celebration at our Academy. SOAS has a great history of teaching the rest of the world about the Middle East, and we are very pleased to have this opportunity to build upon the positive relationship between our two institutions.”

He added: “EDA seeks to forge lasting and impactful connections with prestigious international universities and their educators, and our reception in honour of SOAS and Baroness Valerie Amos CH is a prime example of working towards this goal. I have met many distinguished alumni from SOAS, and it was a privilege to host for this renowned university.”

Established by a royal charter in 1916 as the School of Oriental Studies and welcoming its first batch of students in 1917, SOAS specialises in the study of Asia, Africa, and the Near and Middle East. In commemoration of its centenary, SOAS held events in Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Hong Kong, New York, and Lagos.