Why do we succeed in some activities, and fail in others? This question was on my mind during the signing by Malta, Mexico and Switzerland of the extension of the MoU on online diplomatic training. The MoU provides the formal framework for the very successful cooperation between Diplo and the Instituto Matías Romero (the Mexican diplomatic academy). In practice, this success translates into significant impact of the online courses in training Mexican diplomats, joint course development, and a smooth and pleasant cooperation between the two institutions.
Before I list the reasons for this success, I need to make one caveat. I am careful about ‘canonising’ any practice (as thousand of guidebooks do, since Machiavelli through to today’s pile of books on how to do everything from becoming a successful businessman to having a happier life). Our personal and individual life journeys are unique and often very contextual. Context, luck, and the role of simple coincidence are often filtered out of such guidebooks because they diminish the impact of the ‘big wisdoms’ offered. The maximum we can do with our experience is to inspire others, and learn to avoid to potential pitfalls.
With this serious caveat, let me reflect on a few reasons for the successful cooperation between the Mexican diplomatic academy and Diplo:
All in all, the cooperation was developed through a bottom-up and gradual process. Common sense really was common in making decisions. While there was always a clear idea in what direction to move, there was no ‘grand design’ or scheme.
After the signing ceremony, we continue our online learning journey, but in a different environment than back in 2004. With Coursera and other prominent initiatives, online learning is moving into the mainstream. In the forthcoming period, we will meet new challenges and, hopefully, devise new ways to address them. We invite you to come with us on this exciting journey!