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5th ESDC Advanced Course for Political Advisors in EU Missions and Operations concludes

From 25 to 29 April, 2016, the GCSP welcomed 21 participants from 12 European members states for the module on skills enhancement of the 5th ESDC Advanced Course for Political Advisors in EU Missions and Operations.

Sponsored by the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), in partnership with the Austrian National Defence Academy and the Egmont Institute in Brussels, the course caters to current and future political advisors working in national capitals, EU institutions, EU agencies, as well as in EU missions and operations.

The overall course provides participants an understanding of the tasks and challenges they will face as political advisors in an EU mission or operation at both the operational and strategic levels. It details the core principles of the EU’s External Action as well as the framework, skills and working techniques for political advisors both in capitals and in the field. The course also creates the space for participants to form networks in their field – especially valuable for a growing profession.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the interactive nature of the Advanced POLAD Course at the GCSP. The facilities are state of the art and the high level of expertise of the course presenters enabled me to fine tune a wide range of technical skills in a fun and relaxed environment.”

Ms Linda Newport, Head of the International Support Coordination Unit, European Union Police Force, Afghanistan

The second module of the ESDC Advanced Course for Political Advisors in EU Missions and Operations communicates knowledge and skill enhancement cognitively and experientially, relying on the experience and perspectives of participants and trainers to contribute to an engaging learning environment adapted to adult learning. This is what is coined “The GCSP Way”. The course focused on enhancing the skills set required to effectively serve in political advisory roles. Sessions included conflict-analysis, negotiation, intelligence analysis, mediation, effective writing and communication. All sessions were highly interactive and employed a variety of case studies for maximum application of skills.

Speakers and trainers are affiliated with various international institutions, agencies, and governments. The module started off with Mr Tim Heath of the Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Mediation Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS) leading the group through a half-day on political and conflict analysis on Somalia. Dr David Lanz, who heads the Mediation Support Unit at swisspeace, and Eldridge Adolfo who focuses on mediation within the same EEAS unit as Tim Heath, lead a day on negotiation, peace mediation and mediation support with case studies inspired by Central Asia and Afghanistan and references to Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

GCSP Fellow Jean-Paul Rouiller, Director of the Geneva Centre for Training and Analysis of Terrorism (GCTAT), guided the group through an analysis of the intelligence around the Paris attacks in January 2015. The participants received personalised feedback from the seasoned journalists of icommunicate, a Geneva-based collaboration of journalists and press officers, teamed up with GCSP Journalist-in-Residence Gaetan Vannay on messaging and communicating effectively through the media through television and radio workshops. Finally, career diplomats from within the GCSP staff, Mr Marc Finaud and Dr Carl Ungerer challenged the group with effective political reporting, speechwriting, briefing and advising.

The participants will head to Vienna this June to complete the third and final module of the course at the Austrian National Defence Academy.

In response to the high interest in this course, the GCSP will conduct another module on Skills Enhancement for Political Advisors open to international participation from 27 June to 1 July 2016 that is currently open for application.