Working diplomats are required to take note of knowledge, as described by experts, for the efficient discharge of their prescribed functions. Gleaning appropriate information and then properly processing it will enable them to effect knowledge management beneficially. This is not an uphill task. It only requires a good mindset to manage and perform

Diplomacy, as a subdivision of the inter-disciplinary social sciences, is making its indelible footprint at an increasing pace.

It is inseparably relative to the practicum of foreign policy and international relations.

It encompasses every sort of inter-state action across the world. The greater the international dealings, the larger the dimension of diplomacy.

The post Cold War years have witnessed a newer psychic setting unlike in the hey-days of the Cold War. The post COVID-19 years will likely see the emergence of national behaviour that is self-centric, with much emphasis on health science and vaccine diplomacy at least for the foreseeable future.

The event, whether beneficial or threatening, will have its impact, depending on the scale of its effect.

Hence, diplomacy and its practical aspects call for more relevant knowledge and a newer domain of activity to grapple with the emerging challenges, as well as tackling capability to manage the contours and vector of foreign policy activities.

As a consequence of the transforming pattern of diplomatic practice, there is an urgency for knowledge management, although it will differ from country to country and region to region.

However, in the case of Nepal, diplomatic authorities and practitioners must look into its essential dimensions, considering the unrestricted and unlimited flow of information across the globe, normally done by academics, experts and interested persons relevant to diplomatic businesses.

It may be noted that in Nepal young and enthusiastic minds glean more information on diplomatic dealings than those who are currently in active service.

However, those enthusiastic minds are not seen doing the business of knowledge management as they are out of practical touch. The need of management comes up only when the people have to face the reality of performing the assigned duties commensurate with their diplomatic status.

It is obvious that Nepal's diplomats posted abroad are officially tasked to represent the national interest of the country.

Secondly, no less important is the duty of effective diplomatic communication with the host government and its agencies.

Thirdly, the core duty of diplomatic reporting to the home government assumes the centrality of their diplomatic functions.

Fourthly, improving bilateral relations is also their bounden duty. In addition, there are numerous other duties and functions that one comes across while taking up assignments abroad.

It would be pertinent to quote prominent experts on knowledge management who define it as "the collection of processes that govern the creation, dissemination, utilisation of knowledge to fulfill organisational objectives". To manage knowledge for diplomatic conduct, working diplomats first need to have access to relevant and contextual information; second, diplomats have to realise and appreciate knowledge as an institutional source; third, there is a need to put in place the process of automation through the flow of work activities.

Lastly, knowledge management is concerned with the automation of routine business of diplomatic organisation for timely action.

Working diplomats are required to take note of knowledge as described by experts for the efficient discharge of their prescribed functions. Gleaning appropriate information and then properly processing it will enable working diplomats to effect knowledge management beneficially. This is not an uphill task. It only requires a good mindset to manage and perform.

In addition to good knowledge management, experts also point out a greater need for on-the-job training. Developed and developing countries alike are putting emphasis on this practical aspect during trainings.

Theoretical discourses and class lectures do also figure prominently in the training process, but those are now considered not adequate to meet the practical need. Experts prescribe setting on-the-job training to be carried out on-thespot, either at the headquarters at home or diplomatic missions abroad, with choice and option given to realise this truly practical training that could produce the outcome to the desired extent.

Considering the utilisation of on-the-job training, an American expert, Nicholas Kralev observes, "it works great if one is lucky to have good mentors.......

It can save time and money, and more importantly, with more professional diplomacy, the world might just become less of a mess".

Evidently, Nepal is yet to move ahead in imparting on-the-job training.

Thought should be given to this demand to make diplomats of Nepal professionally laudable and worthy of imitation by others.

Until now, Nepal's diplomats have been found to have not very efficiently carried out major diplomatic activities, namely, effective advocacy, persuasion and lobbying, let alone other major diplomatic businesses. Initial on-thejob training needs to be put in place on these important diplomatic functions.

What is essentially needed for similar job trainings is to upgrade negotiation and diplomatic drafting skills, which are core diplomatic capabilities. Lagging in those skills would largely harm the protection and promotion of the national interest of the country visà-vis the host countries as well as neighbours with whom Nepal's interest lies at stake.

To manage this practical training, management of logistics, resources and good talents endowed with professional skills and enriched with proven experiences are contingent for its success. Once managed successfully, its continuity will go unhindered for long, rendering good services for the proper dispensation of the Foreign Service of Nepal.

However, reliable institutionalisation remains the primary requirement in moving on all the way.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 29, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.