Introductory lecture given to the new Diplomatic Academy class

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dačić gave today an introductory lecture to the new class of students attending the Diplomatic Academy.

Wishing the attendees successful training at the Diplomatic Academy, the Serbian Foreign Minister underlined that they would be able to learn about international relations, the position of the Republic of Serbia and the challenges existing on the international level, while the training would facilitate their work and enable better performance.

Following is full text of the lecture delivered by Minister Dačić:

“Dear trainees of the Diplomatic Academy programme,

Dear colleagues,

I have the pleasure to address the new class of participants in the Basic Diplomatic Training Programme wishing them, on behalf of the Diplomatic Academy staff and on my own behalf, a warm welcome and a pleasant experience at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the globalized world that we live and work in, outstanding technological achievements have facilitated people-to-people contacts, making communication and exchange of information parts of our daily routine. In the same way that the internet has erased borders between states, without differentiating between its beneficiaries on racial, ethnic or any other grounds, the once strict divisions among the state administration departments have also been removed. Inter-disciplinary approach has become desirable, while a modern and effective administration calls for operative and trained individuals. For these reasons in particular, it has become necessary, today more than ever before, that young people – future holders of offices in public administration – master a variety of skills in order to be able to apply them in their work, for the benefit of all.

International relations are prone to change, though it is not always possible to identify its underlying causes and consequences; sometimes, a number of changes occur simultaneously, which makes it imperative to be on the alert. The process of grasping, analysing and contemplating must be a perpetual one. The ability to grasp a situation appropriately and take timely action are instrumental in ensuring the survival of small states in a world which, according to unwritten rules, belongs to the big and mighty.

The stability and development of states in the world of today are conditioned by their level of integration in different political, economic and military and political alliances, as well as their ability of identifying with, adjusting and responding to, increasingly complex political and security challenges.

As I already said, the globalized world brings along a multitude of benefits, opening up at the same time, however, avenues to unconventional threats, considered today as posing the most serious challenge to international security. We are witnessing the spread of fundamentalism, terrorism, organized crime, migration, and the effects of climatic changes. Scenes of brutal violence committed against people, as well as fear and panic have become the order of the day even in the most developed countries, bringing into question the survival of the whole cultural pattern of life as we know it today.

Since no country, however powerful, is capable of meeting today’s security challenges alone, making alliances is becoming the cornerstone for the preservation of peace, and a prerequisite for development. Images from Ankara and Berlin, as well as those from Brussels, Paris and Nice, in previous years, are a warning that terrorism is the scourge of our times, and that we must all stand united in combating it. Working together with other countries and international organizations does not only increase Serbia’s political, economic and military power, but ensures also an optimum preventive response.

For these very reasons, the Republic of Serbia is consistent with its commitment to the preservation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, continuation of the negotiating process with the European Union, further development of friendly relations with major actors of international relations, as well as the safeguarding of peace and stability in the region and good-neighbourly relations.

The Republic of Serbia is firmly committed to the development of democratic values, respect of human and minority rights and is against any kind of discrimination. It is fully determined to peacefully resolve all disputes, resorting to dialogue as the means of cooperation and reconciliation.

In the past, the Republic of Serbia consistently demonstrated its commitment to the maintenance of peace and stability, both at home and in the region. It accepted the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and the fulfilment of all the agreed provisions as a means of cohabitation in its southern province, and will persist in the efforts aimed at ensuring the survival, return and dignified life of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.

By pursuing a responsible and measured policy, the Republic of Serbia endeavours to preserve peace in the region. Only a stable environment can be the guarantor of economic development and progress. Serbia’s actions are not designed to provoke, nor do they pose a threat to others. The Republic of Serbia responds to ever more frequent provocations in a balanced and thoughtful way, paying attention that its strategic goals are not jeopardized.

Serbia is frequently referred to by major world leaders as a country of key importance to the region, having the capacity to assume the leadership role. These words are surely music to our ears, but at the same time, they carry a load of additional responsibility of which we must be aware. The history of our region is difficult and overwhelmed with emotions that often tend to blur the right path to be taken, diverting us from our major goal of joining the European family on the footing of equality. It is, therefore, extremely important for us to be consistent while heading to achieve the values of highly-developed societies, taking the best from them as our role models, and applying the acquired knowledge for the benefit of our own and the future generations.

In its turbulent history, Europe was the battleground of many bloody wars, a witness to ethnic and religious conflicts, and millions of suffering and displaced people. Today, Europe is integrated in a single political system ensuring, through its strong economic and social policies, the safeguarding of peace and a sound standard of living for its people. This is the ideal to which the Republic of Serbia aspires – improvement of the overall living conditions for its people, reduction of general, and particularly youth, unemployment rate, and fighting to eradicate poverty.

For these reasons, it is important that the Republic of Serbia remains focused on the preservation of sound political and economic relations with big countries, enhancement of cooperation with neighbouring countries and on preservation of military neutrality, in order that its comparative advantages be seen as a factor of regional stability and progress.

Moreover, it is the common task of all of us in state administration to promote our country in the best possible way demonstrating, through international cooperation in all areas, that the country which has given greatest scientists, artists and athletes, has the potential to give more.

Nikola Tesla and Mihajlo Pupin set out to materialize their visionary ideas in the world, bringing progress to mankind. Their ideas are not solely the result of their work in the best world laboratories at the time; their visions, rather, date back to their childhood, their play-time with other children in the pastures. Their performance is the result of persistent work, tremendous sacrifice and enormous confidence in themselves and their ideas.

We must all be aware that there are no such things as ideal living and working conditions, and that different epochs are fraught with hardships of their own. It is, therefore, very important to realistically perceive the challenges brought to us by our own time without letting us be taken by surprise in our undertakings, and to be ready to face them.

During your training at the Diplomatic Academy, in the coming period, you will have an opportunity to learn about international relations and the position of the Republic of Serbia, to identify the challenges facing it on the international level, and I hope that the knowledge acquired in your training will help you meet the requirements of, and enhance the performance at your jobs.

Only by joining efforts, each in their own domain, can we contribute to the development of a better and more prosperous Serbia. Since all state administration departments have their place and a role to play in the accomplishment of this goal, I wish you successful discharge of your duties in many years to come.”