Academy for diplomats to open in ‘11

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Academy for diplomats to open in ‘11

A special government committee has drafted a plan to open a new academic institute for would-be diplomats as early as March of next year.

The institute, tentatively called the Diplomacy Academy, would produce diplomats after a two-year graduate school program. Currently, only about 40 individuals who pass competitive national exams each year can become diplomats.

According to the draft, produced Wednesday night after the committee meeting, the academy would accept 100 students each year, and 20 of them would become diplomats. The number of individuals who become diplomats through the national exam would be reduced to about 20 per year.

Eighty students who fail to become diplomats out of the institute would be given opportunities to handle international affairs at regional governments or to join international agencies. All graduates of the program would receive a master’s degree in foreign policy. A Foreign Ministry official said the committee, made up of experts from the government, academia and the media, will have further consultations with related agencies and report the final proposal to President Lee Myung-bak. The plan is to form a special task force and to complete amending the related laws in the first half of this year, the official added.

The committee’s report argued that the current exam, entirely written, has its limits in selecting the best and the brightest diplomats. A high-ranking ministry official told the JoongAng Daily that he too had been skeptical of the current exam because it only tests a limited set of skills.

“In this day and age, we need more well-rounded minds,” said the official, a 33-year veteran. “The academy would obviously help in producing such talent.”

By Yoo Jee-ho []

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