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On the manner of practising the new diplomacy

Author: Jorge Heine
Date: 2006

Diplomats must now engage a vastly larger number of players in host countries, as the age-old “club model” of diplomacy gives way to a less hierarchical “network model.” This paper calls for a new approach – one in which diplomats project their nation’s values and interests to the growing field of international players, focusing on a critical set of issue areas of special relevance to the mission. Although the environment in which diplomacy is practiced has changed drastically, the adaptive behavior of many diplomats and foreign ministries has not always kept pace with this new reality. This is part of the reason they are not fully able to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by increased international flows and interactions. Drawing on the author’s diplomatic experience in South Africa and India, it is argued that diplomats are no longer sheltered from the political realm; that they are more accessible by and have wider access to non-state actors; and that they must respond to the vast array of demands these new factors pose.

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