Tailor-made coaching for new ambassadors

So you’ve been appointed as ambassador to an African country. Be sure to visit us at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala before you go. We offer tailor-made individual coaching programs to newly appointed ambassadors as well as other staff working in Nordic embassies in Africa.

Our coaching program normally requires a full day, but we can also squeeze it in on half-a-day depending on your needs. The program is free of charge and includes private meetings with researchers and guided tour to the library’s resources, along with some other activities.

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Who? How? What?

Who can sign up?
Ambassadors, policy-makers, strategists, experts and researchers working in Nordic embassies, missions or NGOs in Africa are welcome to attend our coaching program.

To sign up, just send an e-mail to nai@nai.uu.se, phone +46 18 471 52 00.

What happens then?
NAI will contact you to decide a date and to set up a tailor-made coaching program for you . There is no cost. If you need help booking the journey to Uppsala or a hotel, NAI will be happy to assist you with this as well,  however we do not cover your travel and hotel expenses.

Recommendations from ambassadors

We went to NAI for coaching

Anna Merrifield, Iina Soiri, Daniel Johansson Århem, Ola Hällgren and Unnur Orradottir Ramette

“It helped me to contextualize and see things in a bigger picture”, says Anna Merrifield, head of the political section of the EU Delegation to Uganda, after a full-day programme at the Nordic Africa Institute.

Together with three other Nordic diplomats newly appointed to missions in Kampala, she came to Uppsala for NAI's ambassador coaching programme. NAI-researcher Anders Sjögren talked about comparative political economy and state-society relations in Uganda. With senior researcher Terje Oestigaard, they discussed hydropolitics and climate change in Uganda and the Nile Bassin. Associate Professor Redie Bereketeab gave a briefing on peacebuilding on the Horn of Africa. And finally, research assistant Anna Baral talked about her research on morality among informal workers in Kampala.

Another participant was Daniel Johansson Århem, who in two weeks’ time will take on his new position as counsellor in political and commercial affairs at the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala.

“Apart from briefing us from the policy-maker collective with in-depth knowledge on current issues, the ambassador coaching programme also gives us a chance to give the researchers feedback on what are needs are. It’s a challenge to combine research with policy relevance”, he says.

”It feels important to get the historical perspective, to talk to someone who can place today’s political developments in a wider context”, says Jessica Svärdström, new Swedish ambassador to Mali.

She is on her way to a country with a complicated security situation and where political elections were held on 29 July despite the conflict which has been raging since 2012. The conflict broke out after a coup d’état which in turn was caused by discontent with how the government handled the Tuareg uprising in Mali’s northern desert area.

At NAI Svärdström was offered a tailored program and met the two researchers Ole Martin Gaasholt and Jesper Bjarnesen who gave their perspectives on the development in Mali and the region Sahel.

”Of course you can educate yourself through literature but it is valuable to engage in dialogue, to be able to ask questions”, Svärdström says.

“I would have loved to stay longer to explore the library’s resources”.

Sofia Calltorp, Sweden’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, interviewed in November 2016.

"We discussed how private interests and public sector interlink."

Timo Olkkonen, Finland’s ambassador to Zambia since 2014. Also covers the diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Interviewed after NAI coaching in August, 2016.

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