Dr Biljana Scott was trained as a linguist (BA in Chinese, M.Phil and D.Phil in Linguistics, University of Oxford). She is a Senior Lecturer in Language and Diplomacy at DiploFoundation and an associate of the Chinese Institute atOxford Univers...

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Can poetry help diplomacy? A joke, surely! Poetry and diplomacy are worlds apart and have nothing in common other than using language as a medium. Diplomacy is devoid of poetry unless, that is, we count the alliteration in President Trump’s ‘fire and...
 9 Sep 2017

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In our March WebDebate, we explored the contribution of diplomats to literature and cultural heritage and also looked at how art and diplomacy can be usefully combined. We asked: What can we learn from diplomats who also engage in the arts? What role...
 14 Mar 2017

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Table of contents Categorising cultures Lewis categorisation High context and low context Ambiguity Other categorisations Improving intercultural communication Cultural diplomacy Translation and interpretation T...

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Table of contents Why is language important to diplomacy? Speech act theory Persuasion and rhetoric Analysing rhetorics Repetition Association Composition Omission Diversion Confusion War propaga...

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Ambiguity in diplomacy came in useful again last week. On Friday, Serbia and Kosovo reached an agreement for Kosovo representation at regional fora. Till now, Serbia, who opposes Kosovo’s independence, was blocking Kosovo’s participation in regional ...
 26 Feb 2012

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Academic papers
In this paper I will talk about ambiguous language as it is used in peace agreements. I use the term "peace agreement" somewhat broadly to refer to agreements that resolve conflicts of interest of any kind, not only those that put a close to war. ...

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Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Drazen Pehar looks specifically at the use of ambiguities in peace agreements. Pehar explains why ambiguities are so often used and why diplomats and others involved in international relations may think it best to eliminate ambiguities from peace agreements altogether. He goes on to demonstrate, however, with numerous examples, that while ambiguities have led to a continuation or re-starting of hostilities in some cases, in many other cases they have provided the only bridge between conflicting parties and allowed for a cessation of violence. Pehar presents and discusses in detail pros and cons for the use of ambiguities in peace agreements, providing a number of guidelines and considerations for their successful use.

Source: 
Language and Diplomacy. Ed by J. Kurbalija and H. Slavik (2001)
 Drazen Pehar, 2001
 

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Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Of central concern in the field of negotiation is the use of ambiguity to find formulations acceptable to all parties. Professor Norman Scott looks at the contrasting roles of ambiguity and precision in conference diplomacy. He explains that while documents drafters usually try to avoid ambiguity, weaker parties to an agreement may have an interest in inserting ambiguous provisions, while those with a stronger position or more to gain will push for precision. Scott provides examples from a variety of trade and agricultural negotiations, stressing the different roles played by developing and developed countries, and the evolution of special terminology which has entrenched ambiguous concepts in this sort of negotiations.

Source: 
Language and Diplomacy. Ed by J. Kurbalija and H. Slavik (2001)
 Norman Scott, 2001
 

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Louise Lassonde (Coping with Population Challenges, London: Earthscan Publications Limited, 1996, 7) provides the following example: "In the Cairo Programme, various formulations which were contradictory a priori were worded in such a way as to ...
 29 Jun 2002

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Ambiguous formulations are used in diplomacy to allow for a degree of consensus when parties to a negotiation cannot come to an agreement. Drazen Pehar explains If two parties have strong and contradictory interests, and if it seems that neither ...
 29 Jun 2002

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Arguments can be found both against and for the use of ambiguity in diplomacy. Opponents point out that an ambiguous formulation in a treaty or agreement does not actually resolve a problem but simply puts it off until a later time, or allows the par...
 29 Jun 2002

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