Diplomats as Writers

Welcome to the Diplomats as Writers space, a platform dedicated to exploring diplomats’ substantial and often overlooked contributions to the world’s cultural heritage. Your host, the esteemed Egyptian diplomat Ambassador Amr Aljowaily guides this unique online corner. Navigating the nuanced corridors of diplomacy requires not only strategic acumen but also a depth of knowledge in culture, history, language, and literature. These attributes naturally shape diplomats into compelling writers whose works offer fresh perspectives, insight, and understanding, inextricably linking diplomacy to the broader cultural narrative of our global society.

Here, we delve into the rich tapestry of prose, poetry, memoirs, and more penned by diplomats worldwide. We share their exceptional literary output and the stories behind the stories—revealing how their diplomatic careers have shaped their writing and vice versa.

Whether you are an aficionado of diplomatic history, an aspiring writer, a cultural explorer, or simply curious, we invite you to embark on this fascinating journey with us. As we turn the pages of diplomatic literature, we uncover the intricate link between international relations and cultural discourse, providing a richer understanding of our shared human heritage.

Let’s together uncover the profound ways diplomats, through their written words, have helped weave the world’s cultural fabric. Welcome again to the Diplomats as Writers space, where every word has a story, and every story reflects the world.


Through the Diplomatic Looking Glass

The research of Stefano Baldi and Pasquale Baldocci focused on books published by Italian diplomats from the post-war period to today. The more than 760 titles give a picture of the diverse interests that distinguish the members of the diplomatic profession.

The book was launched with a panel discussion in Cairo on 4 February 2010.  The speakers were Pasquale Baldocci, Dr Mostafa El Feky, chairman of the  Committee on Foreign Relations of the People’s Assembly, Abdel Raouf El Ridy, chairman of the Mubarak Library and honorary chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, and Nehad Abdel Latif, assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of the Italian-Egyptian Friendship Association.

The research results are regularly updated through a website dedicated to the topic.

Stefano Baldi has also established an experimental mailing list called “diplomat-writer” to facilitate the exchange of information on books published by diplomats worldwide. If you are interested in subscribing to the list click here.

Within the framework of the Italian Literature Festival “La Fonte,” which took place in Vienna from March 1st to 3rd, 2024, an exhibition of panels titled “The Diplomat’s Pen” was set up, dedicated to books written by Italian diplomats. The festival is organized every year by the Italian Cultural Institute of Vienna, the cultural association Librai in Corso, and the Libellula Association of Vienna.

The exhibition, conceived and realized by Ambassador Stefano Baldi, consists of 18 thematic panels featuring a selection of 360 book covers and illustrates a lesser-known aspect of diplomats, represented by the books they have published. The panels, in Italian and English, are organized by thematic area and cover: History, Biographies, Memories, International Politics, Diplomacy, Fiction, Poetry and Theater, Italians Abroad, Miscellaneous, In Other Languages, Italian Embassies. Each panel also includes a brief description of the books included in each category. A special panel was created for the occasion, focusing on books published by Austrian diplomat writers.
The exhibition is based on the broader research project “The Diplomat’s Pen,” which the author began over 20 years ago with the publication of the book of the same title. The research has so far identified and cataloged over 1400 books published by more than 340 diplomatic authors from the post-war period to the present day, highlighting the considerable literary production of diplomats and valorizing their publishing activity. An examination of the published books reveals a vast and varied landscape that not only highlights the ability to narrate situations and characters but also the broad and diversified interests that characterize those who pursue this profession.

The project also includes a blog (https://diplosor.wordpress.com), a website (http://baldi.diplomacy.edu/diplo), and the book by Stefano Baldi and Pasquale Baldocci: “La penna del diplomatico. I libri scritti dai diplomatici italiani dal dopoguerra ad oggi” (2006), also published in English as “Through the Diplomatic Looking Glass. Books Published by Italian Diplomats Since 1946” (2007). More recently, Stefano Baldi has also published a repertoire of books titled “Il diplomatico su carta” (2018).

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Le Bicorne et la Plume

This book, by Swiss Ambassador Jacques Rial, was put online in 2010 and has benefited from many suggestions, corrections, and additions by Swiss colleagues. It was published in September 2008 under the joint sponsorship of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and DiploFoundation.