Civil diplomacy refers to the use of non-governmental actors, such as civil society organisations and private individuals, in promoting diplomatic relations and achieving foreign policy objectives. It involves the active participation of citizens and civil society in diplomatic activities, including building relationships with foreign partners, promoting cross-cultural understanding, and advocating for policies that support international cooperation.
Civil diplomacy is often seen as a complement to traditional government-to-government diplomacy, which can be constrained by official protocols and political considerations. Civil diplomacy allows for more flexibility and creativity in building relationships between countries and communities, and can be an effective tool for promoting peace, development, and human rights.
Civil diplomacy can take many forms, including people-to-people exchanges, cultural programmes, advocacy campaigns, and humanitarian aid initiatives. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and grassroots movements often play a key role in civil diplomacy, as they are able to operate independently of government restrictions and pursue goals that may not align with official foreign policy objectives.
Overall, civil diplomacy is a way for citizens and civil society organisations to engage in diplomatic activities and promote international cooperation and understanding, often in collaboration with governments and other stakeholders.