24 August 2021 at 11:44 am
Education diplomacy strengthens New Zealand’s relationship with the Pacific Alliance
Thirty-six teachers and government officials from Pacific Alliance nations are newly equipped with English language and intercultural competence skills, having completed a modified version of the New Zealand Global Competence Certificate (NZGCC).
This initiative, funded by Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao, is a significant milestone in the relationship between New Zealand the alliance.
At the graduation ceremony, New Zealand Ambassador to Chile, Linda Te Puni, said “this celebration today is, first and foremost, yours but it is also a milestone for New Zealand because it reaffirms our commitment to the Pacific Alliance. We are pleased to continue to build and strengthen this relationship in various areas, including networking, educational and between peoples.”
The Pacific Alliance is a Latin American free trade area and economic integration initiative, established by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru in 2011. The bloc comprises the world’s eighth-largest economy and is home to over 220 million people. It has been identified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a priority region for New Zealand, with negotiations for a free trade agreement currently underway.
The objective of the English Network of the Pacific Alliance is to develop a cooperation strategy to improve the language in the bloc, work in which it has had the support of New Zealand as an observer country.
“The promotion of the English language expands our people’s access to educational, scientific, technological and employment opportunities, while contributing to the formation of a more productive workforce, with a view to strengthening our competitiveness in global arenas,” Director of Regional Coordination and Integration Mechanisms of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia and National Coordinator of Colombia for the Pacific Alliance, Adela Maestre, said.
The Pacific Alliance version of the NZGCC was led by teachers from Massey University. The first four weeks of the course were dedicated to the certificate, while the last two focused on creating a ‘community of learning’ for support and guidance, where methodologies, teaching practices and resources can be shared well after the course has finished.
The NZGCC was originally designed by AFS. The certificate teaches self-awareness, empathy for other cultures, and ways to build bridges in multicultural settings.