The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) hosted the 12th Annual Meeting of Deans and Directors of Diplomatic Training Institutions of ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN+3) from 19-21 April 2017 at the Manila Ballroom A of the Marriott Hotel Manila in Pasay City. Heads of ASEAN+3 diplomatic training institutions and their respective delegations were in attendance. Director-General Claro S. Cristobal delivered the welcome remarks and Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo gave a keynote speech. In his speech, Acting Secretary Manalo highlighted the role of diplomatic training institutions in shaping diplomats as well as the importance of science and technology in diplomacy and collaboration among states of the East Asian region.
In line with the theme Building a Community of 21st Century Diplomats in East Asia, the Meeting was divided into four sessions: (1) Contemporary Issues, Challenges, and Trends and their Implications on Diplomacy; (2) Innovation in Diplomatic Training; (3) Sharing of Joint Training Experiences; and (4) Strengthening Cooperation among ASEAN+3 Diplomatic Training Institutions. The participants shared their experiences, practices, and perspectives in diplomatic training. Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, and Myanmar served as presenters, while Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, and Malaysia served as moderators for the sessions. The Philippines, as host, presided over the Meeting.
Aside from the formal discussions, the participants engaged in other activities. A gala dinner was held following the end of the first day of the Meeting, with the participants, representatives from the ASEAN+3 embassies, representatives from Philippine government agencies, and guest of honor, Philippine Civil Service Commission Chairperson Alicia de la Rosa-Bala, in attendance. Chairperson Bala gave a speech in honor of the occasion, emphasizing among other key points, the crucial role of diplomats and civil servants, as well as the attributes and skills they must possess to effectively address the challenges of the 21st century.
The participants were entertained by Filipino artists during the gala dinner. FSI also arranged a city tour that brought the participants to the Malacañang Palace Museum and the Fountain at Okada Manila. The ASEAN National Organizing Council provided conference management and other support for the successful hosting of this meeting.