lighting, Diplomacy

Persuasion, the essence of diplomacy – a seminar

03 April 2013 -


Event description

New: Consult the report from the seminar.

The book Persuasion, the essence of diplomacy will be presented at a seminar organised by DiploFoundation and the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies on 3 April 2013 (10.30 – 12.30) in Geneva (132, Rue des Lausanne, Auditorium Jacques-Freymond).  

'Persuasion is much more than the rhetoric it is often associated with. It defines us as humans. It is an essential part of our social fabric', says Dr Jovan Kurbalija, editor of the book Persuasion, the essence of diplomacy. According to the latest studies, we spend half our time persuading or being persuaded.  It happens in our family, at work, in pubs. We try to persuade verbally, tacitly, and even online.

The seminar, in honour of Professor Dietrich Kappeler, will start with his explanation of why he thinks persuasion is the essence of diplomacy.  Ambassador Francois Nordmann, a former Swiss diplomat, will reflect on his experience of persuasion in bilateral diplomacy. Ambassador Petru Dumitriu, from the Council of Europe, will discuss the changes in persuasion in multilateral fora: 'A successful speech is a short speech. The chairperson will usually praise the short intervention rather than the smart ones. Even if diplomats manage to squeeze a persuasive speech into 2–5 minutes, the audience is often missing.'

Dr Aldo Matteucci will argue that persuasion is more a matter of social context than pure rhetoric: 'Persuasion is an important enabler of social change. Social media is an example where persuasion evolves from the individual agency to the collective change'. Mr Jean-Christophe Nothias from the Global Journal will present a journalist's perspective of diplomatic persuasion –  when and how diplomats can persuade media. 

The presentations will be followed by a group discussion and a reception. Registration for the seminar is now closed.

background articles | webpage on persuasion in diplomacy | photos from the seminar | report from the seminar | more info:

Draft Programme



10.30 – 10.45

Coffee and registration

10.45 – 11.00


Welcome address

  • Prof. Stephen Calleya (Director, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies)
  • Dr. Jovan Kurbalija (Director, DiploFoundation)

11.00 – 11.15

Persuasion – the essence of diplomacy

Key-note address by Prof. Dietrich Kappeler, Honorary President of DiploFoundation

11.15 – 12.30

Reflections on persuasion in diplomacy


  • Ambassador François Nordmann, former Swiss ambassador
  • Ambassador Petru Dumitriu, Permanent Observer of the Council of Europe to the UN, lecturer DiploFoundation
  • Dr Aldo Matteucci, former Deputy Secretary General of the EFTA and Swiss trade diplomat
  • Mr Jean-Christophe Nothias, Editor in Chief, The Global Journal – Geneva

12.30 – 13.30

Refreshments and canapés