This is a collection of papers presented at the 2006 Conference on Foreign Ministries hosted by DiploFoundation in May 2006, in Geneva. The overarching theme is the adaptation and reform that these ministries have undertaken, in the shape of country experiences and the transformation implemented in specific areas such as the application of information technology for outreach to domestic publics, adaptation in consular services and outsourcing options. Some of the challenging issues addressed cover relations between civil servants and politicians, the role of sub-state entities in diplomacy, and how to survive budget cuts. The depth and diversity of the essays is a distinguishing feature of this collection.
Paul Sharp, Professor and Head of Political Science, University of Minnesota, Duluth, states: 'This is a comprehensive volume of essays by leading academics and practitioners on the challenges and opportunities which confront Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the first half of the 21st Century. Particularly valuable are the way in which the intersection between foreign and domestic affairs is examined, and the treatment of adaptation as an ongoing state of affairs in which MFA’s are always engaged.'
Paul Meerts, Diplomatic Consultant at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael, states: 'While specialised ministries enter the diplomatic stage ‘en masse’, Foreign Ministries are looking at themselves, and asking, what is our cutting edge, our niche? This reader analyses the internal as well as external strengths and weaknesses of Foreign Affairs’ Ministries. It concludes with the idea that diplomats are best equipped to deal with certain issues on the agenda put forth by globalisation, provided that they are able and willing to adapt to the constantly changing world around them. This book is an informative volume for the young diplomat or the interested general reader on ‘what needs to be done’.'