Diplomacy in a Bottle of Water

While governments are talking about planning to work to protect our environment and while they are trying to achieve agreement with each other to start to protect environment, in the meantime the environment took a lead and became a big issue for everyone on the Earth.

Figure 1 Source: (Google, 2017)

There is a high number of negotiations and talks on range of the topics covering environmental issues from ocean pollution to global warming. There are billions of stakeholders, environmental activist groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which creates platform for such talks. NGOs promote environmental problems, run campaigns to encourage change and to warn about existing or possible consequences. Both activist groups and NGOs play crucial role in moving forward with this issue. They give policy advice and suggestions, do research and provide environmental expertise. Furthermore, they organise groups of volunteers to go on the ground and to help where possible. Also, they raise attention of wide public who then put more pressure on their own governments to take action. However, the more countries get involved in this issue, the more complex it becomes and finding solution is more and more difficult. It is hard to make an agreement on improving environment when leaders do not have a will to compromise their trade and business deals. On the other hand, independent NGOs are able to make decisions without clash of interest and to take action much faster.

Sometimes, the campaigns of NGOs succeed to persuade public to act even without government involvement or without official policy in place. For example, the case of bottled water. ‘In the last 40 years the bottled water industry has gone from a business prospect that few took seriously, to a global industry worth billions of pounds’ (BBC News, 2017). How is that possible if we consider that water is natural, simple source which is essential for life? It is very simple – put it into the plastic bottle, brand it, promote it and sell it. What governments do about this to protect its citizens from paying for their very basic need like water is? They take advantage of water privatization and its profit by collecting taxes from each bottle sold.

“I think bottled water is the most revealing substance for showing us how the global capitalist market works today,” says Richard Wilk, professor of anthropology at Indiana University (BBC News, 2017).

‘The bottled water market is the fastest growing drinks market in the world’ (Environmental Technology Centre, 2017). According to the data collected by the Environmental Technology Centre, ‘Britain consumes 3bn litres of bottled water per year’ and ‘the UK bottled water industry is worth £2bn per year’ (Environmental Technology Centre, 2017). As stated in BBC article ‘Bottled water has become liquid gold’: ‘Like all products, its success is driven by consumer demand’ (BBC News, 2017). But, given that water is a matter of life and death, do consumers have any other choice? Plastic bottle allows people to have constant access to water and to transport a beverage anywhere with them.

This is where NGOs step in. For example, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Food and Water Watch, brought into attention that bottled water is harmful not only to our wallets but also to the environment. Companies state that all disposable water bottles are recyclable, however as per the Environmental Technology Centre, ‘for 2007 it is estimated that 13bn plastic bottles of water were sold in the UK of which only 3bn were recycled’ (Environmental Technology Centre, 2017). Long-terms campaigns led to the phenomena of refillable bottles. Refillable bottles as well as reusable plastic coffee cups became very popular and widely used by public. This shows that people can take steps forward even without governments implying policy. Companies quickly caught up on this and started to distribute different types, shapes and colours of refillable bottles and cups. So, the business side is still involved, but it surely does safe money of consumers and safe the environment at the same time. The Environmental Technology Centre collected data to outline reasons to use refillable sports bottle instead of buying bottled water – Click here to access the list of the reasons.

Figure 2 Source: (Google, 2017)

The effort of NGOs played, and still plays, crucial role in bottled water issue. Their campaigns promoted the usage of refillable bottles and they continue to encourage people to use them as much as possible. Moreover, this was not the only success of NGOs in regards to the environmental issues. There many other campaigns and conferences run by large as well as small NGOs, from the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and Greenpeace to GreenBlue and many other organizations and activist groups. Their hard work and the ability to reach out to public in the way that people listen often pay off and celebrate progress. For instance, UNEP in cooperation with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is currently running campaign to promote the Sustainable Development Goals. They use image of popular Smurfs, which is attention catching, memorable, and most importantly it makes whole generation of children to listen and to learn about environment and healthy lifestyle. Perhaps future of our environment is the hands of NGOs rather than governments?



BBC News. (2017). Bottled water has become liquid gold – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11813975 [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Environmental Technology Centre. (2017). Should we be using bottled water?. [online] Available at: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/etc/news-water.php [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Food & Water Watch. (2017). Corporate Control of Water. [online] Available at: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/problems/corporate-control-water [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Susskind, L. (1994). Environmental Diplomacy: Negotiating More Effective Global Agreements. 1st ed. [ebook] Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available at: http://0-lib.myilibrary.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Open.aspx?id=44245 [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Sustainability Degrees. (2017). The 14 Most Influential Sustainability NGOs. [online] Available at: http://www.sustainabilitydegrees.com/blog/most-influential-sustainability-ngos/ [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

United Nations Environmental Programme. (2017). Environmental Diplomacy. [online] Available at: http://staging.unep.org/disastersandconflicts/Introduction/EnvironmentalCooperationforPeacebuilding/EnvironmentalDiplomacy/tabid/54581/Default.aspx [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].



Diplomacy for Everyone

“In the 21st century, success in the international arena will belong to those that know how to successfully identify, use and deploy soft power, and maintain it via public diplomacy and the use of digital tools.”        – Arturo Sarukhan
Source: (USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 2017a)

Public diplomacy is defined as ‘the public, interactive dimension of diplomacy which is not only global in nature, but also involves a multitude of actors and networks’ (USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 2017b). Berridge’s definition is more radical, he defines public diplomacy as ‘propaganda which is to manipulate public attitudes through the mass media for political ends’ (Berridge, 2015, p. 198). However, the term ‘public diplomacy’ was ‘coined in 1960s by former U.S. diplomat Edmund Gullion to distance overseas governmental information activities from the term propaganda’ (USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 2017b). He aimed to distinguish these terms, because propaganda is often connected with political advertising during the World War II and during the Cold War which can give negative impression. In contrast, ‘public diplomacy’ not only sounds more positively, but also has proven itself successful on many occasions.

Since 1960s public diplomacy has developed into useful tool to influence opinion of foreign as well as domestic public through variety ways such as radio broadcasting, television (TV), culture events, literature, newspapers, magazines, and recently through social medias. For example, American TV shows and movies played important role in spreading American culture values and created image of how the United States (U.S.) wants to be pictured by the foreign public. For instance, children’s TV show Sesame Street opened platform for U.S. cultural diplomacy in approximately 145 countries all around world including those U.S. has though relationship with (USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 2017a). Success of Sesame Street led to the launch of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization which promotes learning and education. The similar triumph U.S. celebrated with TV show Friends which won the attention of teenagers as well as adults worldwide. The Central Perk coffee house, in which 6 main characters of this sitcom used to hangout, has inspired various imitations all around the world including countries with anti-western values such as Iran, Afghanistan and Dubai. These cafes carry not only design of The Central Perk coffee house, but also the American vision of young people’s lifestyle.

Public diplomacy allows diplomats to take away the privilege to control information by those is power (Kerr and Wiseman, 2013). Moreover, it enables involvement of variety of actors in diplomacy. Public diplomacy can be practised by anyone from world leaders, politicians, ambassadors, diplomats and multinational corporation to non-governmental organisations, celebrities, religious figures, local activist groups, and so forth. In past few decades more and more public figures got involved in international affairs to bring attention of wide public on to the important issues. For example, Princess Diana, who was heavily involved in humanitarian aid. More recently, actresses Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson both working for the United Nations to bring into world’s attention the refugee crisis and women rights issues. Women rights and girls power were also brought into the light by Malala Yousafzai, a survivor of assassination attempt by the Taliban, who is now running campaigns to allow every girl in the world to access education.  The involvement of public figures also plays important role in promotion of human rights. Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa, inspired many by his brave lifelong fight for human rights and justice. He was able to bring people together and to spread his vision to live in peace.

Public diplomacy is important for current world affairs because it achieves long-term changes in opinion. It also opened the door to the diplomacy for wide public and allows anyone to get involved. It also raises the level of interest of wide public in world affairs, which can lead to the solutions of some of the world’s issues.  As Philip Seib, a professor of Journalism and Public Diplomacy, said: “When public diplomacy changes lives constructively, it is doing its job” (Seib in USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 2017a).



Berridge, G. (2015). Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. 5th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kerr, P. and Wiseman, G. (2013). Diplomacy in a Globalizing World: Theories and Practices. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

USC Center on Public Diplomacy (2017a). 10 Biggest Public Diplomacy Stories of 2013. [online] Available at: https://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/pdin_monitor_article/10-biggest-public-diplomacy-stories-2013 [Accessed 16 Mar. 2017].

USC Center on Public Diplomacy (2017b). What is PD?. [online] Available at: https://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/page/what-pd [Accessed 16 Mar. 2017].



Figure 1 Source: Twitter, 2017

The diplomatic practises of Donald John Trump, the President of the United States of America (POTUS), surely deserves attention. During his revolutionary election campaign, the world has witnessed some extra ordinary strategies. Those, who believed it was only to attract voters, remain in shock seeing the diplomatic practices of the new president.

Inexperienced politician Donald Trump has begun his presidency by taking unexpected steps, many of which undermined or ignored existing diplomatic protocols and traditions. For example, taking phone call from the president of Taiwan which had bad impact on relationship of United States (US) with China. Within very short period of Trump’s presidency his undiplomatic skills also jeopardized relationships with other world leaders, such as President of Mexico Peña Nieto because of the argument over the cost of wall which Trump plans to build on the US – Mexican border. Sweden government was not happy about Trump’s fake news about terrorist attack in Sweden. There was also an argument with ‘Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over agreement with Obama administration to resettle refugees from camp in Australia’ (Palmeri et al., 2017), and many other diplomatic faux-pas. Morocco World News published: ‘Critics of Trump are accusing him of causing international chaos’ (Morocco World News, 2017).

Figure 2: Figure 2 Twitter, 2017
Figure 3 Source: Twitter, 2017

President Trump simply goes around, does and says whatever comes to his mind and ignores any diplomatic protocols, etiquette and a deals between countries which were outcome of often long term negotiations. The question comes into minds of commentators and diplomacy scholars – Is this lack of experiences or is it Trump’s planned diplomatic strategy? Whatever it is, it catches attention of wide public all around the world.

CNN News wrote: ‘President Donald Trump is quickly becoming the world’s most undiplomatic and unpredictable diplomat’ (Collinson, 2017).

The whole world keeps their eyes on president’s Twitter account. His ‘Tweets’ have fascinating effect world-wide. In this instance, fascinating does not necessarily mean a positive effect. But, with no doubts, the ‘Tweets’ of POTUS are attention catchers. The fact that head of state uses Twitter is not unique. However, it was never used for practising diplomatic relations on this huge scale yet. Donald Trump is the first high politician who uses ‘Twiplomacy’ as main source of communication with wide public, with media and with leaders all around world. The reaction is extremist, it induces either hysterical support, emotional response or serious contempt.

Figure 4 Source: Twitter, 2017

President Trump uses two official Twitter accounts, which are followed in sum by 42 million Twitter users (Twitter, 2017a; Twitter, 2017b). One of his account – @POTUS seems to be officially under control of White House and is run in professional and ordinary way. In the other hand, account @realDonaldTrump is fully directed by President Trump. This is extraordinary fact, the state leader (in this case the most powerful leader in the world) expresses is very own rare opinions without professional advisor, and via unsecured private mobile phone. Social media have never been used by public figure in such a way.

‘Trump has succeeded in large part because he’s retained his vulgar vigor and translated it into the political arena’ (Hess, 2016).

Figure 5 Source: Twitter, 2017

Both supporters and opponents respect (in their own way) Trump’s social media strategy. His ‘Tweets’ usually come out very late night or early morning to ensure it will be ready for discussion in the morning news. He uses Twitter as a main communication tool with the rest of the world, because it is the fastest and the easiest way to reach millions of people and to get immediate reaction. Furthermore, it is way to turn attention of these people to the issues he wants to. Trump is able to turn a 140-character message into powerful tool of political promotion. Digital diplomacy is very recent phenomena and Trump is already showing us revolution in this new trend.

Figure 6 Source: Twitter, 2017

Whether Trump’s action can be called diplomacy leads to the discussion about what defines diplomacy. It is obvious that Donald Trump is not a fan of traditions and simply follows his own way. Diplomacy was built up on traditions, rules and protocols. Trump is freely breaching all adapted procedures and creates novel diplomatic practise on his way to ‘make America great again’. According to CNN, ‘Foreign leaders are learning valuable lessons about dealing with Trump and his administration for the future’ (CNN in Morocco World News, 2017). Considering that president of the super-powerful United States of America cannot be ignored and left out of the talks and debates, leaders will have to find the way how to deal with Trump and his unconventional diplomatic practise. Perhaps, this means that Trump has introduced the new style of diplomacy – Trumplomacy.

It will be very interesting to watch the progress, whether diplomatic sphere will finally rule President Trump or Trump will command the world of diplomacy. Is Trumplomacy together with Trump’s strong personality able to deal with the international affairs, such as issues in Israel and conflict in Syria, or to handle sensitive relationship with Iran?

Figure 7 Source: Twitter, 2017



Barbaro, M. (2017). Pithy, Mean and Powerful: How Donald Trump Mastered Twitter for 2016. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/us/politics/donald-trump-twitter-use-campaign-2016.html?_r=1 [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

CNN. (2017). CNN – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News in Morocco World News (2017). Trump’s Diplomacy: How Diplomatic is it?. [online] Morocco World News. Available at: https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2017/02/207474/donald-trumps-diplomacy-how-diplomatic-is-it/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Collinson, S. (2017). Donald Trump’s undiplomatic diplomacy. CNN. [online] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/03/politics/donald-trump-diplomacy/index.html [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].

Hess, A. (2016). Everyone knows trump is the best on social media. Here’s why. [online] Available at: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/02/donald_trump_is_the_best_at_twitter_here_s_why.html [Accessed 6 Mar. 2017].

Morocco World News (2017). Trump’s Diplomacy: How Diplomatic is it?. [online] Morocco World News. Available at: https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2017/02/207474/donald-trumps-diplomacy-how-diplomatic-is-it/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Palmeri, T., Vogel, K., Dawsey, J. and Toosi, N. (2017). Trump’s faux-pas diplomacy. [online] POLITICO. Available at: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-foreign-leaders-phone-calls-234770 [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Twitter (2017c). Diplomacy World. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/DiplomacyWorld1 [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Twitter (2017a). Donald J. Trump. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump [Accessed 6 Mar. 2017].

Twitter (2017b). President Trump. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/POTUS [Accessed 6 Mar. 2017].

Twitter (2017c). Twiplomacy 🌐 on Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/twiplomacy/status/805116053353271296?refsrc=email&s=11 [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Are diplomatic institutions old school?

Modern world, along with globalization, challenges the existence of traditional diplomatic institutions. It cannot be agreed, whether the embassies and high commissions are still needed. Is the technology replacing them? Should other government departments deal with the issues related to them? Or is their existence too much valuable to replace them? There are so many pros and cons of having permanent missions abroad. The aim of this article is to compare pro arguments to arguments against in order to find out whether the institutions of the ‘old’ diplomacy have any contemporary relevance.

First of all, let me start with a little bit of historical background of embassies to understand the reason of its existence. Embassies, in the form known today, were established in the 13th century in Italy. Envoys were expensive to dispatch and were facing risk during travelling. Resident embassies in a foreign country not only minimized the risks and expense of constant journeying by rough roads and unpredictable seas; they also aided political reporting and the more discreet preparation, conduct and following up negotiations. (Berridge, 2015, 115) Permanent missions were needed, because there was no such a thing as telephone or internet. But, in the modern world, where the developed communication technology allows us to get in touch with somebody on the other side of the world within seconds and without leaving our house, and where travelling became much easier and safer, where media reports anything what happens more or less immediately, we have to look for a deeper meaning of diplomatic institutions.

What is embassy actually for? Functions of the normal embassy are representing the sending state and protecting its interests in the receiving state, while gathering information about the latter state, and negotiating and promoting friendly relations with it – all within the limits of international law (Article 3). (Berridge, 2015, 119) Embassies carry important tasks. It is a tool for strengthening relationships between states by, for example, hosting social occasions or attending state ceremonies. Building relations with public by giving public lectures. Provide consular services to its own citizens who lives abroad. Play crucial role in negotiations between states. Reporting home on present conditions or on relations between hostile states on the territory of a third. Provide support for government figures when travelling abroad. In the time of war or state of emergency, ambassadors play important role. In some countries, the function of embassies can be more specialized, depending on the priorities of a particular relationship. For example, in developing countries embassy takes care of the administration of foreign aid. French embassy in Delhi has a nuclear energy section or U.S. embassy in Mexico City includes department which deals with narcotics.

What do embassies have to do with diplomacy? Watch this short video, which summarizes the main usage of embassies and provides examples (Newsy Politics, 2015)

Another aspect is the actual building, where embassy is located. It might symbolize values to which this state attaches high importance. For instance, the Turkish Embassy in Berlin consists of two halves separated by a high, copper-covered archway meant to represent Turkey’s position as a bridge between Europe and Asia. (Berridge, 2015, 121)

felipe_schmidt_03Figure 1: Turkish Embassy in Berlin / NSH Architekten (Source: http://www.archdaily.com, 2013)

It seems that functions of embassies are irreplaceable. However, some argue that effects of dramatic improvements in travel and communications decrease the importance of these institutions, or even make them to be useless. International organizations seem to have more influence than traditional diplomatic institutions. Multilateral conferences appear to be more effective. The embassy can no longer, by itself, provide the diplomatic means to cope with the global system. (Leguey-Feilleux, 2009, 185) Institutions, such as United Nations or European Union, changed the way how the diplomacy is practiced. Also, since diplomacy covers range of specialized issues, other government departments need to be involved.

Other argument is that reporting had been overtaken by the huge growth in the international mass media. Diplomatic missions also face danger due to the ideological tensions and cultural divisions. Some of the embassies were attacked. As an example, see The report from United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security on ‘Significant attacks against U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel’ (Bureau of Diplomatic Security, 2013).

Apart from danger, the weakness of permanent missions is the cost. Berridge, professor of international politics, also points out that ambassadors, who are part of permanent mission abroad, have tendency to ‘go native’. (Berridge, 2015, 117) That means that there is possibility to lose touch with sentiments at home. Being part of different culture, accepting gifts from the locals, and becoming part of the community of receiving state can potentially lead to the change of the interest.

The world is changing and many things, including diplomacy, are adapting to the modern era. However, the nature of diplomacy and the tradition remain the same. Permanent missions still have its important role. They are just adapting to meet the needs and expectations of the modern society. Some embassies shrunk, those of others have expanded. Some being closed down, however new ones are being opened. Some countries run the missions cost effectively. This means, that states might share the embassy, or that there is one institution available in the region rather than in each state and the ambassador travels around.   States are deeply interconnected with each other, therefore communication and cooperation are the key to success. The map below shows us how many permanent missions are currently in the world:

captureFigure 2: (Global diplomacy index, 2016)

This picture shows how many permanent missions are run by USA:

capture2Figure 3: (Global diplomacy index, 2016)

You can see the connections of other countries as well. This interactive map is available on the website of Lowy Institute: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/global-diplomacy-index/ (Global diplomacy index, 2016)

Permanent missions are still in use and facilitate many activities. The word ‘permanent’ represents the crucial meaning of embassies and high commissioners. Regular consultation can promote the partnership. It allows to continuously work on the relationship between countries. Moreover, some types of negotiation require preparation and personal contact is essential. Ambassadors also have opportunity to follow up on the negotiations, when needed. Reporting home on present conditions is more accurate. Trained staff is more reliable than media. The advantages of traditional diplomatic institutions are still more valuable and strong enough to deal with its weaknesses.

Given all the points, I think that institutions of ‘old’ diplomacy do have contemporary relevance. If anything else, embassy is permanent reminder that your country exists.  It creates platform for personal contact. Personality matters, and you cannot send personality by email, Whatsapp, Skype or even Twitter.



Berridge, G. R. (2015), Diplomacy Theory and Practice (fifth edition), Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S.D. of S. (2013), Significant attacks against U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel 1998-2012, Washington, D.C., Available at: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/211361.pdf, [Accessed: 19 November 2016]

Gallaga, M.G. and Diplomat, T. (2013), Do we still need embassies?, Available at: http://thediplomat.com/2013/09/do-we-still-need-embassies/, [Accessed: 19 November 2016]

Global diplomacy index (2016), Available at: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/global-diplomacy-index/, [Accessed: 19 November 2016]

Leguey-Feilleux, J.-R. (2009), The dynamics of diplomacy, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, CO

Newsy Politics (2015), What do embassies have to do with diplomacy? – Newsy, Available at: https://youtu.be/remTjP-yhk0, [Accessed: 19 November 2016]

Oliver, A. (2016), “The Irrelevant Diplomat“, Foreign Affairs, 14 March 2016, Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2016-03-14/irrelevant-diplomat, [Accessed: 19 November 2016]

Diplomacy blossoms

            Diplomacy, or at least its traditional form, is as old as civilization itself. The very rare form of diplomacy was very easy to define. Messengers were representing their sovereign, conveying and receiving messages, explaining, persuading, observing, reporting, and negotiating. (Kerr, Wiseman, 2013, 29) Later, Ancient Greece introduced, what is now called, traditional form of diplomacy. Next significant step was a move from church to ‘state to state’ system. The main principle of diplomacy remains the same, states still use it to communicate with each other. However, as world and society developed and changed, diplomacy adapts to the modern world. Concurrently, it has become more difficult to make a clear and simple definition of this term. But, has its nature changed as well?

old-diplomacyFigure 1: Diplomacy Old and New, (Source: http://www.diplomacyoldandnew2012a.wordpress.com, 2012)

While diplomacy was developing, it has been institutionalized and world have seen establishment of embassies and foreign ministries along with the new diplomatic protocols and procedures. In the 19th century, diplomacy became more official and professionalized. Moreover, globalisation together with technology development brought this discipline to the higher level. Diplomacy opened itself to the public and shifted its interest on variety of new issues. From shaping the foreign policy, representing and promoting a state’s interest, to talks about oil, climate change and even tourism. Diplomacy also plays important role in the nuclear weapons management. Recently, we can see science entering the world of diplomacy in hope to strengthen the relationships and to decrease a tension between some countries.

New diplomacy covers wide range of activities and topics. Due to the broader interest, diplomacy was divided into different types. We can distinguish, for example, oil diplomacy, resource diplomacy, knowledge diplomacy, transition diplomacy, commercial and economic diplomacy, and so on. The new kinds of diplomatic relations require professionals with greater specialized skills. (Leguey-Feilleux, 2009, 144) That means that ambassadors have to reach a certain level of knowledge. This is bringing up a question whether ambassadors should be required to have formal qualification. Perhaps, this can lead to another change in the field of diplomacy as we know it.

Another impact on the evolution of diplomacy has the wider range of actors in international system. The newly emerged states brought cultural diversity into diplomacy. That includes, for instance, the new style of negotiating, more languages and different professional backgrounds of ambassadors. Furthermore, it is not only ‘nation to nation’ anymore. There are non-governmental organisations in place and they shape world affairs in the same way as nation states do.

Nature of diplomacy is also affected by growing importance of the media and technology. This has positive as well as negative affect. In one hand, it is very useful tool to speed up communication and to overcome distance. As Michael Small, diplomat and senior executive in the Canadian foreign service, says: “When the cost of communication approaches zero, geography doesn’t matter anymore.” (Small in McRae and Hubert, 2001, 231) Others argue that technology denies importance of diplomacy as it is now, ignores traditions and causes loss of patience with formalities.

new-diplomacyFigure 2: UN climate action database enjoys big business boost, (Source: www.businessgreen.com,2016)

Diplomacy went through long process. From very simple meetings and talks between tribes up to settling peace between two superpowers and ending the Cold War. We have opportunity to witness worldwide conferences, such as United Nations Climate Conference. This year there was the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit taking place in Istanbul, where states along with non-state actors, came together to commit the action to reduce human suffering. This is an example how much diplomacy has developed.

All things considered, I have to agree with Ronald Peter Barston, author of Modern Diplomacy, that ‘diplomacy is the subject of constant change’. (Barston, 2006, 4) It must be flexible enough to keep up with the speed of changes on the international scene. Coming back to the question whether nature of diplomacy has changed, it probably depends on how do you define diplomacy. I believe, that the very pure natural form of diplomacy has not changed. However, the progress and level of development caused by evolution of society and mostly by globalization is extraordinary. For sure, it can be said that diplomacy moves, grows, ripens. Diplomacy blossoms…



Barston, R. P. (2006), Modern Diplomacy, 3rd edition, Pearson Education Limited, England

Kerr, P., Wiseman, G. (2013), Diplomacy in a Globalizing World Theories and Practices, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Leguey-Feilleux, J.-R. (2009), The dynamics of diplomacy, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, CO

Small, M. in McRae, R. and Hubert, D. (2001), Human Security and the New Diplomacy, McGill, Queen’s University Press, Montreal