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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Public Service Chairman Mr Serulagilagi Speaks at Diplomatic Induction

INDUCTION TRAINING FOR THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE

Statement by the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Mr Josefa Serulagilagi, 13th June 2012, CTD, Nasese
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•    YOUR EXCELLENCY, AMBASSADOR ISIKELI MATAITOGA;
•    INVITED GUESTS;
•    WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS;
•    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;

1.    IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE TO JOIN YOU AT THIS THIRD SESSION OF THE DIPLOMATIC INDUCTION COURSE.

2.    THIS COURSE HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PROGRAMS ON THE PSC TRAINING PLAN, AND AS SUCH, I WISH TO THANK ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN PART OF ITS PREPARATON AND IMPLEMENTATION.

3.    IN A SPECIAL WAY, I THANK HIS EXCELLENCY, AMBASSADOR MATAITOGA, FOR DESIGNING THE PROGRAM, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, AND SUBSEQUENTLY, FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CONDUCT THE COURSE, IN THE MIDST OF HIS, NO DOUBT, VERY BUSY SCHEDULE IN TOKYO.

4.    THIS COURSE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IS ALL PART OF ONE OF THE MAJOR OBJECTIVES OF CIVIL SERVICE REFORMS, WHICH IS BUILDING UP A DYNAMIC WORKFORCE, THROUGH HUMAN RESOURCE TRAINING.
5.    ULTIMATELY, THIS SHOULD IMPACT GREATLY, ON ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT AND PRODUCTIVITY, WHICH ARE THE OTHER TWO COMPONENTS OF OUR REFORM AGENDA.

6.    THE PROGRAM, WAS ACTUALLY A RESPONSE TO THE NEED TO BUILD UP THE CAPACITY IN FIJI’S MISSIONS ABROAD, AND INDEED, IT HAS MADE HUGE PROGRESS SINCE THE FIRST SESSION WAS HELD ABOUT A YEAR AGO.

7.    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PUBLIC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HAS EVOLVED DRAMATICALLY IN RECENT YEARS.

8.    THE RAPID ADVANCEs IN TECHNOLOGY HAS SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IN THIS REGARDS.  I AM SURE THAT WITHIN THE DIPLOMATIC ENVIRONMENT, WHERE TIME IS ALWAYS OF THE ESSENCE, TECHNOLOGY HOLDS A PROMINENT PLACE.

9.    HAVING SAID THAT, WE WOULD HAVE ALL BEEN AWARE OF GOVERNMENT’S MOVE TO REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE CIVIL SERVICE, AND INDEED, IT IS EXPECTED THAT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY WOULD CONTRIBUTE GREATLY TO THIS EXERCISE.

10.    BUT THEN AGAIN, WHILE THE MACHINES ARE IMPORTANT, WHAT IS MORE CRITICAL IS CHANGING THE MINDSET OF EMPLOYEES TO ALLOW THEM TO WORK WITH STATE-OF-THE-ART ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES.

11.    IT IS A WHOLE PARADIGM SHIFT, WHICH MANY DIE-HARD CIVIL SERVANTS ARE GRAPPLING WITH.

12.    MANY STILL PREFER THE LONG LABORIOUS TASKS OF PUSHING PENS AND PUNCHING FILES, RATHER THAN PRESSING TOUCH-GO BUTTONS THAT REDUCE WORK DURATIONS IMMENSELY.

13.    THERE IS NO DENYING THAT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT, FOR ALL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, TO BRING INTO FULL PLAY, THE ROLE OF SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING, IN IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND CAPACITY OF WORKERS.

14.    AT THE 2ND ASEAN HUMAN RESOURCE CONFERENCE HELD IN 2010, THE DIRECTOR OF THE ILO REGIONAL OFFICE EMPHASISED THE “ROLE OF STRENGTHENING EDUCATION OUTCOMES AND INCREASING COLLABORATION FOR EDUCATION AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT TO SUPPORT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT”.

15.    FORUMS SUCH AS THIS, WILL DEFINITELY PROVIDE THE MUCH-NEEDED DISCOURSES FOR SUCH AN IMPORTANT EXERCISE, I AM SURE.

16.    THERE IS NO DOUBT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THAT WE CANNOT SEPARATE HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT FROM ECONOMIC PROGRESS, AND INDEED, WITHIN THE DIPLOMATIC ARENA, WITH A SMALL ECONOMY LIKE FIJI, THERE IS A NEED FOR US TO EXPLORE EVERY OPTION THAT IS  AVAILABLE TO US.

17.    SUCH IS THE REALITY OF THE DIPLOMATIC WORK CONDITIONS, AND I AM SURE THIS WORKSHOP WILL PROVIDE SOME FRUITFUL DISCUSSION ON:
•    HOW TO ADDRESS THE DIPLOMATIC ENVIRONMENT WORKFORCE NEEDS,
•    HOW TO MAINTAIN A HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAM; AND
•    WHAT IT TAKES TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE EXCELLENCE THRIVES.

18.    THE STRATEGIES FOR ENAGAGEMENT, YOU WILL BE LEARNING MORE ABOUT IN THE COMING WEEK, NO DOUBT.

19.    FURTHERMORE, THERE IS NO DENYING, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THAT THE EVOLVING WORKFORCE REQUIRES CREATIVITY AND FLEXIBILITY.

20.    IN THE PAST, THERE WAS A LOT OF EMPHASIS ON KNOWLEDGE, HARD SKILLS AND TALENTS.


21.    MORE RECENTLY, MANY RESEARCHERS HAVE EMPHASISED THE NEED TO INCULCATE IN EMPLOYEES THE PRINCIPLES AND VALUES THAT AN ORGANIZATION STANDS FOR.

22.    IN THIS DAY AND AGE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, OPERATING ACCORDING TO VALUES AND PRINICPLES CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT, BUT IF WE WISH TO HAVE PASSIONATE AND EFFICIENT EMPLOYEES, WHO PRODUCE OUTSTANDING RESULTS, PRINCIPLES AND VALUES ARE DEFINITELY THE WAY TO GO.

23.    IN ADDITION TO THIS, OF LATE, THERE HAS BEEN HEIGHTENED EMPHASIS GIVEN TO SOFT SKILLS.

24.    MORE AND MORE, CORPORATIONS AROUND THE WORLD RECOGNIZE THAT IN ORDER TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE EDGE, THEY ALSO NEED TO MAKE SURE THEIR PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THEMSELVES AT WORK AND HOW TO RELATE WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS AND PEERS.

25.    SUCH SOFT SKILLS ARE A CLUSTER OF PERSONALITY TRAITS, SOCIAL GRACES, COMMUNICATION, PERSONAL HABITS, FRIENDLINESS AND OPTIMISM, THAT CHARACTERIZE RELATIONSHSIPS WITH OTHER PEOPLE.


26.    IT IS ENCOURAGING TO NOTE THAT, IN THIS RESPECT, YOUR PROGRAM WILL ADDRESS MATTERS RELATING TO ETIQUIETTES AND DIPLOMATIC BEHAVIOURS.

27.    IN TODAY’S WORKING ENVIRONMENT, WHERE CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES ARE DEMANDING MORE, INSTILLING THE USE OF SOFT SKILLS IN TEAM MEMBERS, IS SOMETHING YOU SIMPLY CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT.

28.    IT IS OFTEN SAID, THAT HARD SKILLS WILL GET YOU AN INTERVIEW, BUT YOU NEED SOFT SKILLS TO GET AND TO KEEP THE JOB.

29.    LADIES AND GENTLMEMEN, GIVEN THE CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT THROUGH GLOBALIZATION, OUR ENGAGEMENTS WITH DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS HAS DEFINITLEY MOVED IN SOME TOTALLY NEW DIRECTIONS.

30.    AND IN DOING SO, WE CANNOT AVOID HAVING TO SEE OURSELVES WITHIN THE WIDER PICTURE AND THE BROADER SCENES – REGIONALLY AND GLOBALLY.

31.    AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS 21ST CENTURY, PERHAPS THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON THE WORLD ECONOMY, HAS BEEN THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRISIS, AND SMALL COUNTRIES LIKE OURS WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE HARD HIT THAN OTHERS.
32.    THE GLOBAL JOB CRISIS REACHED A RECORD HIGH IN 2009, AND I BELIEVE, IT WOULD BE CORRECT TO ASSUME THAT WE ARE NOW INTO THE RECOVERY MODE.

33.    IT IS WITHIN THIS CONTEXT THAT THE FIJI DIPLOMAT HAS TO OPERATE.

34.    I NOTE FROM THE COURSE BOOK THAT YOU WILL BE ENLIGHTENED ON NEW MODES OF DIPLOMACY, AS WELL AS FIJI’S FOREIGN POLICY SETTING.

35.    IN THIS REGARDS, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT ALL FIJI DIPLOMATS UNDERSTAND THE FOREIGN POLICY AGENDAS THEY ARE EXPECTED TO IMPLEMENT.

36.    THIS IS VITAL BECAUSE WE EXPECT OWNERSHIP AND COMMITMENT, TO CARRY THE AGENDA THROUGH, DESPITE THE MANY CHALLENGES WE HAVE FACED AND THOSE THAT AWAIT US IN THE FUTURE.

37.    FIJI’S FOREIGN POLICY RELATIONS AND ITS CONDUCT HAS MATURED AND ORGANICALLY DEVELOPED SINCE 2006.

38.    AS OUR EFFORTS IN NATION BUILDING MOVES TO A NEW LEVEL, THE LESSONS WE HAVE LEARNED AND OUR EXPERIENCES WILL GUIDE US, IN SETTING THE NEW BASIS OF HOW WE WILL CONDUCT BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE FUTURE.
39.    THE NEW STATUS QUO WILL BE DIFFERENT, AND THE LEVEL OF   INDEPENDENCE DEMONSTRATED BY FIJI’S FOREIGN POLICY AGENDA AND PRACTICE, THEREFORE, MUST BE MAINTAINED.

40.    FIJI’S BILATERAL AND REGIONAL RELATIONS WILL HAVE TO BE ON NEW FOOTING, WITH NEW POWER BALANCING TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.

41.    IN THIS REGARDS, THE NEED TO EXPLORE AND TEST EXTERNAL WATERS, IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORATANCE.

42.    AND WE CAN NOW NO LONGER ONLY LOOK WITHIN, IF WE WERE TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

43.    IN CONCLUSION, HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT IS VERY HIGH ON THE AGENDA OF ALL AGENCIES IN THE WORLD.

44.    THE TASK TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES ENSHRINED IN HR IS EVEN MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE OF ON-GOING CHANGES.

45.    THE IMPACT OF ECONOMIC AND GLOBAL UPHEAVALS, CHANGES IN TECHNOLOGY, IN DEMOGRAPHICS AND IN PRACTICAL, AS WELL AS THEORETICAL INSIGHTS, CONTINUE TO IMPACT ON THE WAY HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IS ADDRESSED.

46.    AND FOR OUR DIPLOMATS WHO WILL BE SERVING IN MISSIONS ABROAD, THE ABILITY TO ADAPT AND TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THESE GLOBAL ISSUES, WILL BE THE DECIDING FACTOR, IN WHETHER THEY WILL BECOME GOOD AMBASSADORS FOR FIJI.

47.    I CAN ONLY ASSUME THAT THE BEST WE CAN DO IS TO IDENTIFY PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT THAT HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED IN THE FACE OF OTHER CHALLENGING TIMES, AND HAVE ENABLED EMPLOYERS TO HIRE, DEVELOP AND PROMOTE A COMPETENT WORKFORCE, WHICH IS THE BACKBONE FOR EXCELLENCE IN SERVING CLIENTS.

48.    I AM SURE THAT MANY EXPERTS WHO HAVE BEEN SCHEDULED ON YOUR PROGRAM,  WILL BE SHARING WITH YOU, SOME PROFOUND WISDOM ON THIS VERY CHALLENGING TOPIC.

49.    AND JUDGING BY THE LIST I HAVE SEEN, THIS IS INDEED A VERY HIGH LEVEL TRAINING PROGRAM, WITH SOME OF THE MOST REPUTABLE RESOURCE PERSONS YOU CAN EVER GET IN FIJI, AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

50.    AS SUCH, ALLOW ME TO REMIND EACH AND EVERY PARTICIPANT, THAT THIS IS A VERY RARE OPPORTUNITY. GRAB IT WITH BOTH HANDS AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT.

51.    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!