The International Centre for Protocol and Diplomacy (ICPD for short) is definitely among the firms who have brought the best of the past two, pandemic-filled years. Based in London, ICPD strategizes and accelerates the empowerment of Protocol and diplomatic professionals by promoting high quality principles, cross cultural awareness, business etiquette, order, precedence and provide professional and educational development through highly exclusive tailored training program that help shape the growth of the industry and rebuild a community with professionally trained and certified Protocol and Diplomatic Experts.
ICPD embraces digital diplomacy: they believe in engagement through training and development, research, and continuous stakeholders’ forums (including webinars, conferences, and networking events). ICPD’s Professional Accelerators Program and Ambassadorial networks have provided excellent support for our professionals across the globe.
During this interview, ICPD’S Director, Ms Patricia Kenneth-Divine, a remarkable, inspiring lady and well-renowned protocol professional; shares the mission, the background and the (foreseeable) future of the International Centre of Protocol and Diplomacy.
1: How did the idea of ICPD come to life? Tell us a bit about your journey so far.
The idea of the International Centre for Protocol and Diplomacy (ICPD) came during the initial stages of Covid-19 pandemic. The main essence was to promote and drive a revolution of change through Protocol and diplomatic professionalism. To launch a vibrant community that comes together in an unprecedented time of disruption with a vision to rebuild, connect, strategise and strengthen best practices of Protocol and diplomacy, creating more awareness to promote diversity and inclusion and a transformation of international economic relationships around the world.
Our main aim was to accelerate the empowerment of Protocol and Diplomatic Professionals through cross cultural awareness, Diplomacy and International affairs, knowledge and skills, diversity and inclusion, Protocol, leadership, and Business. We engaged with our global network by providing a tailored experience for members of our communities and developed collaborative partnerships with potential stakeholders and learning Institutions etc. Embracing Protocol and Diplomatic principles that accelerate change that help to shape the growth of the industry.
In our own way to contribute to diversity and Inclusion, we created a niche for young people and women to help them build a career in the field of Protocol and Diplomacy.
As Director, International Centre for Protocol and Diplomacy and also Principal Consultant and International Trade Specialist for Synergy Systems Consults (UK) Limited, it has been a very interesting experience accelerating and promoting positive outcomes especially in these challenging times.
With over 15 years’ experience In International Trade and International Business Protocol, I have developed great passion promoting Foreign Direct Investments within the UK and Africa and providing a framework for Trade and Investments. My previous working experience at the Department of International Trade in Nigeria (Sub-Sahara Africa) as a Trade and Investment Specialist gave me a good opportunity to explore the diplomatic community and provide excellent expertise and support for numerous foreign companies seeking opportunities into Africa. I lead on potential projects and partnerships across Government and Private sectors with recorded success stories and increased export performance.
Following my extensive leadership roles and engagements within the diplomatic and International Business community, I was appointed on the Advisory Board of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development office, representing Africa on the matters of Staff development, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Over the years, I have become an extensively experienced consultant with robust expertise in International Trade and Investment, International Business and Diplomatic Protocol, Trainer, Conference Director, International Trade mission coordinator, Speaker and Policy/Economic Adviser. With this display of expertise, I also kicked off engagements promoting Protocol and Diplomacy, I started off the Leadership Accelerator programme aimed at developing and empowering the African Protocol and Diplomatic Industry through extensive learning, collaborations and awareness campaigns aiming to empower hundreds of Industry professionals in the year 2022.
Over the last 4 years, I have engaged strategically with various Protocol Institutions of learning and Universities providing learning capabilities for over 300 protocol practitioners across the globe from the UK, UAE, Africa, Netherlands, and the USA.
With good working relationship across Embassies, High commissions, Universities and professional bodies, The Chief of Staff Association in America, and other global networks, the International Centre for Protocol and Diplomacy is ready to kick off its new campaigns that will generate empowerment in the global sphere especially through collaborations, partnerships and enlighten Industry strategies. She has successfully attracted partnerships and collaborations from international institutions and Universities raising the standards and practices of Protocol across the globe.
She has pioneered protocol vision and also presided over the affairs of the Association of Certified Protocol Practitioner in Nigeria. Through her excellent expertise the network has a vibrant membership providing support in the area of Leadership and Protocol.
2: What is ICPD’s mission?
Succeeding together through connectivity, interactions, and networking by strategizing and accelerating the empowerment of Protocol and diplomatic professionals, promoting high quality principles, cross cultural awareness, business etiquette, order & precedence and provide professional and educational development to help shape the growth of the industry and rebuild a community with professionally trained and certified Protocol and Diplomatic Experts
3: What has been the biggest challenge for the company so far?
One of our biggest challenges is the unprecedented outcomes of Covid-19. We are currently developing a sustainable digital transformation Strategy and Implementation is very crucial for us at this time. Covid-19 has stressed the importance of digital empowerment especially with rapid technological changes, the way business is currently conducted, to connect with values, culture and provide support for our network around the world through online channels. We can acknowledge the fact that this has accelerated our outcomes on the potentiality of digital technology.
Traditionally, most businesses are not able to strategically embrace the reality by implementing a digital transformation strategy into our future plans, so we can make a good impact on the whole supply chain.
We need to capitalise on building more capabilities in the way we engage, strategize, and implement our objectives. Covid-19 has changed the rules especially in the protocol and diplomatic world and changing the way business is now conducted. Adaptation and Planning becomes a key factor especially in a more transformed and digital world.
4: Can you give us a little insight on your plans for the foreseeable future?
The International Centre for Protocol and Diplomacy (ICPD) will be driving its global expansion plan through our collaborations and partnerships platforms and also focus on our overseas channels. We are keen on building a sustainable community of Protocol and diplomatic professionals. Therefore, we aim to maximise our global impact working together with our potential partners and allies and drive a better integrated and positive approach that will strengthen our outcomes.
Our plan is centred on how we achieve our visions and deliver our outcomes to help transform the organisation to be better and more impactful. Our priorities are collaboration and partnerships, digital diplomatic delivery, sustainability, protocol, leadership & business, knowledge & skills, diversity & inclusion.
5: “To excel in the field of Protocol is to adapt quickly” Do you agree with this statement?
Yes, I agree completely. Our recent International Protocol and Diplomatic Conference which held on the 11th November 2021 is a true reflection of how we have taken steps to adapt quickly. We identified the need to discuss the Art of Diplomacy as a change factor in promoting a diverse economy hence the aim to rebuild, connect and empower Protocol and Diplomatic Communities especially in the current digital transformation agenda. With over 350 participants signing on to the conference, we recorded numerous numbers of Protocol and Diplomatic Professionals across the globe attending the conference.
Since that Conference, ICPD network has Increased, we have provided excellent and tailored training programmes for more that 80 Protocol and Diplomatic Professionals in the area of International Business Protocol, Corporate Governance, International Relations and Diplomatic Protocol, etc The ability to adapt quickly and still meet the demands of our clients is a great tool that we have and this incredible approach has given us several partnership opportunities within the Diplomatic and Protocol Communities.
6: What advice would you give to anyone who is planning on making their career in the fields of Protocol and Diplomacy?
I like this question which falls in line with one of our upcoming projects to get more young people to understand the concept of Protocol and Diplomacy. The International Centre for Protocol and Diplomacy has been engaging with various Universities across the globe to begin a curriculum that offer courses in Protocol and Diplomacy, this will motivate young professionals to join the industry early. I have had opportunities to talk to young people in the past within Universities in the United Kingdom/Africa. Sometime ago as a special guest at the London School of Economics Alternative Career Society and discussing on the Alternative Consulting Panel, one of the things I shared was that in building a career path you must be open to change and improvement. You must understand your vision and passion and its applications to today’s world.
To build a career in Protocol and Diplomacy, training and development is fundamental (foundational and advanced stages), mentorship, work experience etc. They also have to know their values in terms of their strengths, personal ambitions, explore options and have an action plan.
That’s why we are keen to collaborate in kicking off our Accelerator Leadership Programme for Protocol and Diplomacy targeted at experienced professionals and also encouraging young people who are Interested in building a career in this field.
To learn more about ICPD, please visit https://www.icpdglobal.com/