In a collaborative effort between IWP and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), an impactful five-day executive training course on Energy Security and Energy Diplomacy unfolded from December 24-28, 2023. Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, an IWP professor and director of Center for Energy Security and Energy Diplomacy, and expert in the field, designed and led the course, inviting six distinguished guest speakers, including Haroon Hakimi (IWP doctoral candidate), to contribute valuable insights.
Active participants included IWP interns Thea Porter and Viktor Kiss, who were able to engage with industry leaders to enhance their understanding of energy dynamics. The program attracted 38 mid-level executives from the energy and nuclear industry, forming a dynamic group eager to explore the intricacies of energy security and diplomacy.
The course curriculum covered a wide range of topics, starting from the basics of energy security, the energy transition, and its impact on national security. It included in-depth discussions on identifying vulnerabilities and threats, assessing risk tolerance, and delved into the complexities of irregular energy warfare and the subtleties of energy diplomacy. With a focus on practical applications, the course equipped students with the skills to effectively assess and manage potential risks. It concluded with insights into diplomatic strategies and the development of effective communication techniques that enhance energy security.
Seven teams, each representing a country, engaged in hands-on assignments requiring meticulous risk assessments, strategic planning, and diplomatic negotiations. Notably, these teams demonstrated a sophisticated approach by incorporating cultural and political sensitivities into their strategies, showcasing a pragmatic understanding of effective energy diplomacy.
Enriching the course further, seven international speakers from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Switzerland, Canada, Afghanistan, and Hungary contributed diverse discussions on the energy security, geopolitics of energy, critical minerals, security of critical infrastructure and energy markets. This global perspective provided students with valuable insights, allowing them to benefit from diverse viewpoints on global issues.
Student engagement throughout the course was exceptional, with more than half the class consistently arriving early for team assignments. Their active participation extended beyond the classroom, contributing professional experiences and relevant anecdotes, enriching the conversations.
Key takeaways for participants included the importance of reaching out to friendly nations during crises for alliance-building and the significance of due diligence in diplomatic negotiations.
The final day witnessed each team presenting their findings, with three standout teams receiving the prestigious Certificate of Excellence from IWP and KAPSARC. The selection criteria encompassed the depth of analysis, the effectiveness of diplomatic agreements, and the overall impact of the presented strategies.
This thoughtfully crafted executive course led by Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, successfully bridged theoretical knowledge with practical applications. The achievements of the selected teams and their final presentations stand as a testament to the proficiency cultivated through this transformative educational experience.