Internationaler Diplomatenlehrgang | IDL

The Executive Seminar for International Diplomats (Internationaler Diplomatenlehrgang), initially designed for young diplomats from Central and Eastern Europe, was initiated in 1992 by the then Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher. The intensive six-week course, which is held in German, has developed since then and now accommodates German-speaking diplomats from all corners of the world. Since its inception more than 900 participants from around 55 countries have taken part in this programme, many of whom now hold prominent positions.  

The programme offers a broad selection of seminars, informative visits and study tours. The main focuses are on international economic policy, peacekeeping, conflict prevention and human rights. The programme also includes practical elements such as negotiating techniques, public speaking and media training.
With a view to building collegial network that outlast the length of the programme, the course offers participants a welcome opportunity to establish new ties both with other participants and with colleagues from the Federal Foreign Office.

A report from the 44th IDL by Nino Grdzelishvili (Georgia)

News of my participation in the 44th International Executive Seminar was, for me, like a birthday present. After the many conversations I had had with Georgian alumni of Training for International Diplomats, it was finally my turn. The reports of the alumni on their experiences were always extremely positive but the six weeks I spent in Germany with the other 17 committed and ever so friendly colleagues from all over the world even managed to exceed my expectations.


My life is very much shaped by the quotation of the famous Georgian writer and leader of the national liberation movement Ilia Chavchavadze who wrote in the 19th century: “Movement and action are the only things that fill a country with strength and life.” To my mind, this holds true not just for countries but for each and every one of us.


Just a quick glance at the programme of the seminar was enough to see that the next six weeks were going to be unforgettable. I am not just talking about visits to Berlin, Brandenburg, Brussels, Hamburg or the Free State of Saxony. The fascinating talks with representatives of the Federal Foreign Office and other ministries, of political foundations and the private sector on topics such as Brexit, EU foreign policy, multilateralism, the connection between climate and security policy, digitalisation, conflict prevention and raw materials policy gave us a lot of food for thought.


What is more, we had the privilege of experiencing a fascinating period in Germany at first hand: the 150th anniversary of the Federal Foreign Office, negotiations concerning the UK’s imminent withdrawal from the European Union, preparations for the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the 30th anniversary of German Reunification, but also the 70th anniversary of the Berlin International Film Festival all fell within our stay. We were also able to experience a political crisis at first hand as we attended the Federal Press Conference on the day when the Federal Government were surprised to learn of the government crisis in Thuringia.


Having lived in Germany for three years, I thought when I arrived in Berlin that I knew Germany well. After six intensive weeks, it was clear I had been wrong. The International Executive Seminar opened up completely new horizons for me and extended and deepened my knowledge.


During this time, I learnt a lot not just about Germany but also about the 17 countries from which my wonderful colleagues came. Through our great interest in Germany and in one another, we grew together as a big family in this period. The inspiring experiences we shared, the exciting discussions and relaxed chats were something I found very enriching both professionally and personally.


Last but not least, I would like on behalf of the 44th International Executive Seminar to extend my sincere thanks to the programme director, Ambassador Axel Berg, the programme coordinators – Kerim Kortel and Peer K. Braak – as well as Marius Weiler for the wonderful programme and for always being happy to help.


As we heard from various interlocutors during the programme, you always bump into people more than once. I look forward to seeing you again!