The Academy celebrates its eight year anniversary!

In September, the Academy for International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BZ) celebrates its eighth anniversary. A good time to look back on the past years with Mirella van de Noort-Tijhaar, Head of the Academy.

Groepsfoto van teamleden academie d.d. 31 januari 2023. Het zijn 16 deelnemers en ze staan in twee rijen, 1 rij onder en 1 rij boven.
Image: ©academie / Jurgen Huiskens
From left to right upper row: Anjalie Ramkisor, Tamara Sturing, Gina Meertens, Babet Mooij, Rianne Zulfiqar - Wezendonk, Hind Ribeiro - Bidaoui, Jan Willem Naphegyi - Schouw, Sandra Kroes. From left to right row below: Frederik Birnie, Mirella van de Noort - Tijhaar, Loes Vonk, Henny Schippers, Janet Klaassen, Natasja Nikolić, Rik Reuvekamp, Irene Kessels.

Mirella: 'We have an Academy that focuses on providing learning activities, that connect people and knowledge based on the platform role we have. It  gives direction to learning and development from the compass role. We have a professional study programme focused on knowledge, skills and behavior to prepare colleagues for the future. We have trained and connected many colleagues from BZ and international governmental employees in recent years so that learning from each other and with each other continues. We do this in close cooperation with directorates and missions as well as with the Strategic Policy Unit (ESA) and in coordination with our Interdepartmental Advisory Board. What does it look like in concrete terms?’

Our learning activities

'There are appropriate learning activities for everyone and at every level. These can be longer learning pathways or short courses, e-learnings or (online) lectures. Through the developed (now eleven) learning pathways for different job groups, you can find your way by seeing what fits your job. Our catalogue includes language courses to international negotiation, from leadership to intercultural skills, and from business management to current topics, such as climate and cyber.

I'm also pleased  that we now have a central onboarding for new MFA colleagues. We have developed learning courses for all regions worldwide (from Asia & Oceania to Latin America and the Caribbean). These region studies contain history, economics, politics and culture of the region in question for deepening knowledge and preparing employees for postings abroad. We organize apprenticeships for “International Policy Officer Foreign Affairs (IBBZ)” every year and last year even twice. And partly as a result of the report on racism that was presented last year, our Inclusion Plaza was further expanded with the workshop "Speaking Up!’

Platform and Compass role

'From our platform role, we work closely with universities and knowledge centers, the business community and social partners so that we can learn from each other. We have also developed an international network with which there is intensive contact, including the academies of the various European Member States and the European Commission (European Diplomatic Academy).

As part of the compass role, we give more direction to learning and development by making proposals on the mandatory nature of learning, by developing a language policy, by working data-driven and by strengthening the digital infrastructure. Naturally, we work intensively with our Human Resources (HR) colleagues from Recruitment, HR Advice and Vitality and Health.'

Preparing for the future

'All efforts are focused on preparing employees for the future. By strengthening knowledge and skills of MFA BZ employees and other expat staff members of the government , we can contribute to a world, which is even safer, more prosperous, fairer and more sustainable.'

Want to know more about the Academy for International Relations? Find more information on our LinkedIn page.