30 Apr 2020
The Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs
“Towards Diplomatic Excellence”
The Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand’s main training organ, envisioned to build capacity within the Thai foreign service. In accordance with the 5S Foreign Affairs Master Plan and the country’s 20-Year Strategic Master Plan, the Institute’s goal is to ensure diplomatic professionalism and academic excellence. By strengthening knowledge of modern-day diplomacy, analyzing the ongoing dynamism of global and regional changes in their all dimensions, developing technical knowledge, building core competencies and skills, and instilling positive attitudes and ethical values in line with international standards, the Institute ensures foreign service personnel are better positioned to promote and protect the interests of the country and its people, boost the country’s image, as well as build confidence in the country internationally. At the same time, the Institute provides professional training on a regular basis to update knowledge and upgrade capacity among other personnel who render invaluable support to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ missions.
The Institute cooperates with both public and private sector, including state enterprises, to provide technical services in various forms. For example, government officials who will represent Thailand abroad receive training on subjects ranging from Thai foreign policy, protocol, diplomatic prerogatives and immunities, etiquette, legal knowledge and skills, negotiation skills, public speaking and English language at different skills levels.
The Institute is the main English language testing center for the Thai government sector, state enterprises and other state agencies. Test results can be used to support applications for scholarships, fellowships granted by the Royal Thai Government and international agencies for further studies, training and research in Thailand and beyond. They can also be used as evidence for shortlisting candidates for positions or assigning officials for posting overseas. The results are also linked to the award of a pay increment.
In the age of globalization, diplomacy and foreign affairs are something open and accessible to everyone nowadays. Thus, the Institute recognizes the significance of disseminating knowledge of diplomacy and foreign affairs to the public at large, particularly students. The Institute offers training and technical services through various activities such as special lectures, seminars, internships and publications. More in depth studies are conducted by the International Studies Center (ISC) which was reactivated in 2019 to carry out research on Thai foreign policy as well as on global and regional issues.
The Institute has been recognized internationally as another track 2 mechanism to promote Thailand’s relations with all friendly nations and other regional groupings through the exchange of knowledge, technical cooperation and joint efforts to develop human resources, especially with training or human resources development schools, international diplomatic academies and institutes in various forms. Curricula are tailored so that foreign diplomats gain insights into Thai politics, economy, society, and culture. Particular attention is given to the late King’s Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. The Institute is committed to sending its diplomats to participate in various training programmes as well as regional and global meetings offered by its counterparts as a means to strengthen cooperation, enhance connectivity and develop the body of knowledge related to diplomacy and foreign affairs.
For nearly 60 years since its inception, the Institute has been committed to carrying out its missions in an efficient manner, as reflected in its vision statement and missions. The Institute adheres to its aims and objectives to contribute to the national and global interests.
The Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs comprises 6 divisions:
1. Strategic and Central Administration Division
The division’s work comprises personnel management, budgetary management, filing and clerical work, procurement, equipment maintenance, materials control, maintenance of the office premises and their environment, strategic planning, statistical analysis to develop indicators, both organizational and staff, activities to enhance organizational competency, communication, data base system, public relations, online publications, knowledge management, application for scholarships allocated by the Royal Thai Civil Service for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ home based staff.
2. Training and Development Division
The Institute provides training and disseminates knowledge to foreign service personnel at all levels.
Training Programmes for Diplomats
Training Programmes for Support Staff
Training Programme for Government Officials
Other programmes and activities designed to enhance specific competencies and linguistic and related skills
3. Foreign Language Center
The DVIFA’s Foreign Language Center provides language learning services, to Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies, including state enterprises, with a view to enhancing their language and communication skills. Particular attention is given to developing English proficiency as this has a vital role in enhancing Thailand’s competitiveness internationally.
English for Foreign Service Officials
English for Civil Servants of Other Government Agencies and State Enterprise Personnel
Other Language Courses for Foreign Service Officials
These courses of some oriental and occidental languages such as Chinese, Japanese, German, French and Spanish are offered in cooperation with the DVIFA’s counterparts, both government and private.
4. The Standard and Evaluation Center
The DVIFA’s Standard and Evaluation Center provides English proficiency assessment services to Thai foreign service personnel and officials from other government agencies. Test results can be used as a credential on applications for scholarships or fellowships granted by the Royal Thai Government and international agencies for further studies, training and research in Thailand and beyond. The test results can also be used as evidence in support of an organization’s planning and administration, especially in the shortlisting of candidates for positions or selection of officials for postings overseas. They can also be treated as supporting documentation in relation to awarding pay increments.
The Center develops the DVIFA’s English proficiency tests, based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), provides testing services for career development and other purposes, and forms cooperation with other internationally recognized testing agencies.
5. Scholarship and International Cooperation Division
The DVIFA’s Scholarship and International Cooperation Division seeks to promote the DVIFA’s cooperation with various international agencies through the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding with Thai institutes and international diplomatic academies. The division also manages fellowships provided by foreign governments and attends relevant international meetings.
On the issue of scholarships, the division continue to expand its cooperation with various international institutes and diplomatic academies through official visits, training programmes, international meetings.
Fellowships for short-term courses offered for Thai foreign service personnel. Fellowships for short-term training programmes are provided on a regular basis to three priority groups, namely diplomats from neighboring countries, diplomats from Asia Pacific countries, diplomats from African countries.
organized under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Diplomatic Training with foreign diplomatic academies
6. Center for Strategic Studies and Research/Dissemination of Knowledge on Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs
The Center is divided into the following two units:
6.1 Academic Services Unit (Academic Project, Seminar and Dissemination)
The Unit’s main mission is to gather and synthesize knowledge on diplomacy and foreign affairs gained from national and foreign figures who play a prominent role in diplomacy and foreign affairs and to disseminate it to the MFA’s officials, those from other agencies and members of the public. This Unit is also tasked to support the Ministry’s academic services through the publishing of diplomatic and foreign affairs-related publications and academic articles, organizing lectures, special lectures, seminars, and international conferences on topics related to diplomacy and foreign affairs.
6.2 International Studies Center
The International Studies Center (ISC), another unit under the Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs, was originally founded in April 1987 by the former Foreign Minister Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila with Ambassador Phan Wannamethee, the MFA’s former Permanent Secretary serving as its first Director-General.
During the first two decades after its founding, the ISC conducted various academic activities such as organizing lectures and seminars, facilitating brainstorming sessions between the MFA’s officials and those from other government agencies together with academics and private sectors, including press/media and members of civil society.
In addition, the ISC also established a network of cooperation with Thai and foreign academic institutions namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and China.
The ISC later ceased its work during a certain period of time and some of its missions were assumed by other areas of the Ministry. However, significant changes in the global and regional situations triggered a revival of the ISC by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019. Since then, the ISC has sought to promote the study and analysis of pressing issues at the global and regional level, as well as multiple dimensions of foreign policy such as international politics, international economics, international law, regional and international organizations. It has also taken steps to forge links with “members of foreign affairs community” both domestically and internationally.