Travel is a key component of strong, influential and effective diplomacy.
As one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world, tourism has the power to make or break international economies. The article below is from Diplomat Magazine, a decades old British publication that reports on international affairs and diplomatic relations. The article reviews the history of the ancient art of negotiation and explains how travel and new media are integral to the success of “people to people” diplomacy.
Citizen to Citizen Diplomacy, via Diplomat Magazine
By Caroline Clennell Jaine
People around the world are connected to each other like never before. Three hundred million bloggers account for over a million posts every day, and ‘Twitterers’ increasingly micro-bIog important moments of their lives, which can be followed by strangers on the other side of the planet. I have written about our new-found human network many times before, but what does it mean for diplomacy?
Egypt produced the world’s first known diplomats over three thousand years ago, and Ancient Egyptian rulers were also responsible for one of the first recorded international peace treaties – their Kadesh treaty with the Hittites of 1258 BC, copies of which survive to this day, inscribed on stone tablets. The origin of modern European diplomacy can be traced back to the Italian Renaissance, with the first embassies being established in Northern Italian city-states during the thirteenth century. Until relatively recently, ambassadors were noblemen who required large residences and who held lavish parties. But as modern diplomats will testify, there is neither the budget nor the necessity for such grandeur in today’s world!
Historically, travel was the preserve of the elite – rarely did ‘ordinary’ people connect internationally. Before the invention of mass media, high-level handshakes sealed deals of which the public remained largely ignorant. But with global communication and low-cost travel, the world has got smaller and people have got closer. Perhaps governments do still need an elite service of interlocutors for those crucial contacts and collaborations; but given the rise not just in connectivity but in the power enjoyed by the ordinary citizen, are we not entering a new era of interpersonal diplomacy that could prove equally effective in addressing the challenges of international relations?