Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus Policy Center (EMU-CPC) organized a conference entitled “Embassies & Diplomats: All Countries Have Them, What Do They Do?” on October 26, 2011.
The conference commenced with the director of Cyprus Policy Center, Assoc. Dr. Ahmet Sozen, giving brief information about the retired U.S diplomat, James. A. Stewart. In his speech, James Stewart stated that the importance of bureaucracy, embassies and diplomats go way back and that for many years, countries used diplomats to resolve many sensitive issues. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sozen put forth that modern diplomacy commenced after the Vienna congress of 1961. Stewart mentioned that a diplomat’s role is to protect the interests of the citizens of their respective countries in accordance with the principles of foreign policy and to also pursue relations with international organizations, reporting back to their government officials. For a country to be able to establish an embassy abroad, the host country they wish to apply for must approve the request as Stewart pointed out, also noting that in order for embassies to fulfill their duties in a proper manner, they are granted extraterritorial rights.
James Stewart continued his speech by directing his question “So how do countries determine their foreign policies?” to the participants. James then added that according to Vienna Congress’ “Embassy” act, diplomats have the right to represent their countries, strengthen relations between countries, negotiate, protect and report all developments to their government and that all countries need specialists in various fields of related issues. The speeches diplomats prepare, the reports, the talking points and the views they have are very important to how a country is operated and these are the actions that determine their foreign policies.
Stewart later explained in detail the role of Diplomats, stating that amongst the ambassadors who meet with Presidents and Prime Ministers, diplomats are the ones who represent their countries in a high manner in order to strengthen relations and carry out lobbying activities. In order to achieve such goals, diplomats meet not only at meetings but at social events such as dinner parties and various other situations.
As Stewart put it, the world is changing every moment and at every moment, new developments occur. With the advancements in technology, it provides a continuous flow of news which eases communication difficulties. In addition, the ease of student exchange programs with the help of globalization draws a lot of attention to the fact that many countries are offering exchange programs, scholarships and easier ways to obtain visas for tourists in order to strengthen relations with other countries.
Lastly, Stewart drew attention to the difficulty of the field of diplomacy and in his final words and stated that, in negotiations between governments or in the private sector it is often necessary to talk in private because there needs to be a free exchange of ideas, an open and cooperative atmosphere, and give and take on both sides. This cannot take place if the talks are conducted in public.
©2011 EMU-Computer Center