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Cablegate: Entry Level Offsite Highly Successful

VZCZCXYZ6233
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #0538 0630931
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 030931Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9960
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

UNCLAS MANILA 000538

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT APER RP
SUBJECT: ENTRY LEVEL OFFSITE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL


1. SUMMARY. More than 30 Manila Entry Level personnel, including
officers and specialists from State and the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID), participated in offsite training
January 31 - February 1, 2008. The two days focused on professional
development and interagency collaboration, with significant
educational impact despite a constrained budget. Participants
commented that the event improved their understanding of the complex
coordination required at a major U.S. embassy. END SUMMARY.

LEARNING FROM LEADERS
---------------------

2. The offsite organizers tapped into expertise both at Post and
abroad and utilized technology to overcome budgetary constraints.
Significant local and international leadership involvement set the
tone and demonstrated keen interest in EL development. The
Ambassador offered insights into leadership in the Foreign Service
and an overview of the current situation in the Muslim Mindanao
region of the Philippines. Director General Harry K. Thomas, Jr.,
discussed transformational diplomacy via digital video conference,
and former Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Maura Harty
shared her views on the future direction of the Foreign Service.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Stephen
Mull and Major General Salvatore Cambria, commander of special
operations for Asia Pacific, both spoke on the role of the United
States in maintaining stability and defeating terrorism in South
East Asia. The participating officers also offered their own
leadership insights, sharing experiences and demonstrating the
varied opportunities and talents of entry level personnel at Post.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND GUIDANCE
-------------------------------

3. The first day of the offsite focused on career development for
State Department officers and specialists. Various panel discussions
offered several opportunities for detailed discussion of career
enhancement topics. Small group breakouts allowed participants to
address mid-level bidding techniques, Washington tour options, the
promotion process, employee evaluations, and opportunities for
working outside or changing cones. USAID staff arranged their own
parallel discussions of similar issues for their agency.

MINDANAO CASE STUDY
-------------------

4. On the second day, participants received an in-depth examination
of the role of the United States in Muslim Mindanao, a region of the
Philippines facing development challenges, political conflict, and a
continuing terrorist threat. The Mission's collaborative efforts in
Mindanao offered a useful study in careful coordination of U.S.
government assets- political, military, and financial- to increase
stability and prosperity in a conflict area. Panel discussions
examined this sensitive area of the country from the perspectives of
Defense, Development, and Diplomacy. Panel participants included
representatives from the political, economic and public diplomacy
sections, along with representatives from other agencies including
USAID, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and
the Department of Defense.

CULTIVATING EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIPS
----------------------------------

5. In an effort to foster relationships with counterparts at other
diplomatic missions, working-level contacts within the Philippine
government, emerging congressional leaders, nongovernmental
organization partners, and rising journalists, the Manila
entry-level personnel organized a representational event. More than
150 guests attended a reception, hosted by the Ambassador at her
residence. The guest list was aimed at counterparts of the
entry-level officers. Many of the guests commented that they
appreciated the opportunity to attend an official Embassy function
and forge contacts with a wide range of Embassy personnel. The
reception opened the door to future discussions with the invitees,
and opportunities to press U.S. policy interests with a rising
generation of Philippine policymakers and opinion leaders.
Colleagues from other Embassies pledged to reciprocate, in an effort
to further develop the new-found contacts.

6. COMMENT. Manila entry-level officers and specialists
demonstrated that harnessing local expertise, technology, and
creativity can result in a positive and stimulating exchange of
ideas. Embassy Manila found this model a cost-effective means to
foster professional development and encourage interest in broader
Mission goals. Members of the Country Team commented that they,
too, appreciated the opportunity to meet with entry-level personnel
from across this large mission. END COMMENT.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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