On March 26, 2019 HE David William Sproule, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Canada to Mongolia visited our school and met with Dean Battulga Sukhee and senior lecturer Oyunsuren Damdinsuren. Both parties had a fruitful discussion about future cooperation.
After the meeting, Ambassador Sproule gave a lecture on Canadian foreign policy for SIRPA faculty and students. Being an abundantly experienced foreign relations professional, his speech covered the Canadian foreign policy outlines and more interestingly to some, his previous assignments as a diplomatic representative to different parts the world, even conflict affected regions, followed by a Q&A session.
The Ambassador began his career in the field of foreign service in 1981, meaning that he had been on the job longer than the individual time-length of most of the students in the lecture hall have ever lived. He has and is still serving his country and his folks honorably, therefore, one can find the following duty list in his “diplomatic curriculum vitae”: High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Ambassador to Afghanistan, Thailand, Norway and Libya. Mr. Sproule explained th audience how each of the aforementioned countries differed from one another. For instance, in Afghanistan, his political officer was killed by suicide bombing. His family adopted three children from Thailand, when his was on duty there.
Ambassador Sproule is a diplomat, who was professionally trained as a lawyer. The reason, he said was because after three years of studying law, he realized that he did not wanted to do that for the rest of his life, which he told the students is a very important but also a difficult part of graduating university and going on to the job market. He emphasized the necessary essence of making one’s career choice, which affects one’s life in the long-run. The takeaway was to choose one’s career wisely or only if one so desires and decides to do a certain category of tasks for the rest of one’s life. It seemed that Mr. Sproule’s intelligent words sifted through the lecture hall contagiously, judging from the attentive response of the students of SIRPA.
As he explained, one of the key elements of Canadian foreign policy is international organizations. Canadian government has been active in the United Nations since its creation. It is a strong member of NATO, NAFTA, TPP, and WTO. Like Mongolia, Canada does not have nuclear weapons.
During the Q&A session, students asked the Ambassador about his knowledge on the practicalities of “fake news” with regards to national security or global warming with respect to the geographical composition of Canada. The discussion ended with an inquiry of a curious young man that concerned the demand for different languages in the diplomatic field and the ever-growing need for studying the languages of the Eastern cultural sphere of nations. He expressed his surprise towards the level of English the Mongolian youth manages to speak, to which he expected the speakers to be trained at Ivy League universities in North America, only to discover the truth was only a decent high-school education.
As a token of respect and cooperation, the Canadian ambassador signed the SIRPA Guest Book as the other high officials who visit the school does. On an ending note, as the students stood up to mark the end of the lecture, Mr. Sproule wished the best of luck to everyone in the room and said the following: “By the time you get in to the field I will probably be off the duty but I wish I had the chance to work with you all as it is an exciting time to be working in the field of International Relations”.
We, the students at SIRPA are very grateful for the Canadian embassy in Mongolia, especially Ambassador David William Sproule for sharing his invaluable knowledge about the field and the practical context of the personal life behind a true diplomat.