lighting, Diplomacy

Prehistory: The birth of diplomacy and early ‘technologies’ [A historical journey #2]

25 February 2021


Event description


Missed the event? The summary and recording are now available!


A Masterclass with Jovan Kurbalija

Thursday, 25th February
13:00 UTC (08:00 EST | 14:00 CET | 21:00 CST)

When did diplomatic practice start? How did our ancestors solve conflicts? Are humans biologically more prone to conflicts or cooperation?

Join us on Thursday to discuss these and other important topics.

In preparation, listen to our interview with primatologist Prof. Frans de Waal below.

LATEST: Listen to our podcast interview with Prof. Frans de Waal, primatologist.

We asked Prof. de Waal to tell us more about the behaviour of primates, how and when they negotiate, compromise, and mediate, in order to find the earliest origins of diplomacy.

Read the full interview.

​​​​In our introductory January session, we set the course for our journey by explaining the routes that we plan to explore, the stops that we will be making on the way, and the people that we will meet during the journey. 

Our next stop is the prehistoric world, much different from the world we know today. Yet, today’s social patterns were set a long time ago. The emergence of social organisations, such as clans and tribes, led to the interaction between these groups in both wartime and peacetime (conflicts and cooperation). The first negotiations and search for compromise appeared in this period.

Prehistoric people were probably the first diplomats. They negotiated, as we do today, by using more or less the same techniques of persuasion. Conflicted parties tried to develop bonds beyond simple truces as we do today. They searched for compromise, often unwillingly, as we do today. 

We will see how the emergence of language, speech, and social structures (in various forms of cohabitation) influenced prehistoric diplomacy.

Join us in the search for the beginnings of diplomacy, on Thursday, 25th February, at 13:00 UTC (14:00 CET)

Registrations are now closed. You can follow the event on YouTube and Facebook live streams

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