Fletcher in the News

Challenges Facing the 21st Century Diplomat - Prof. Henrikson Chairs Panel


On 25-26 October 2011, the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe, Bruges campus, organised a conference to discuss new challenges facing diplomats today. States and other international players interact through the mechanisms of representation, communication and negotiation, and all three functions of diplomacy have in the 21st century increasingly been challenged. There are more actors, more channels and more issues to deal with, and these challenges need to be reflected in diplomatic training as well. ...

Prof. Alan Henrikson of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University chaired the conference panel on "Negotiation: More Issues". Here is an excerpt from his remarks.

The challenge of integrating multiple issues into coherent diplomacy

Among the ‘functions’ of a diplomatic mission listed in Article 3 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, negotiation – “Negotiating with the Government of the receiving State” – arguably is the most important. It is the primary method by which a state attempts to control its relations with other states, and is therefore political by its very nature. With the increasing variety of issues to be negotiated with other states, bilaterally as well as in multilateral settings, the degree of complexity – procedural as well as substantive – confronting diplomats has risen to such a level as to challenge the capacity of the diplomatic institution and its personnel to handle it. ‘Managing complexity’, it has been suggested, is the major new task for diplomacy.

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