In recent years, diplomacy has taken on more of a human face. With the practice of public diplomacy gaining recognition, Ambassadors and diplomats are not limited in their contacts only to government officials, but are rather likely to engage in dialogue directly with the society of the country in which they operate. Especially when engaging in contact with societies that suffer from tight restrictions from the side of the regime, supporting civil society, democracy and human rights can be among the most active topics of the diplomats’ work, as they are often approached with requests for assistance.
There is no codified set of procedures for diplomats to follow in order to respond effectively to calls for democracy support. Each situation is different, presenting unstructured problems and opportunities, which diplomats need to interpret according to the merits of the issues and local conditions, the bilateral relationship and the foreign policy concerns of the home country. However, there has been considerable past experience that might be helpful on a case-by-case basis in the field.
A Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support is meant to present a wide variety of case studies documenting and explaining specific country experiences. It identifies available resources and opportunities, leaning upon past experiences of diplomatic missions, and describes how such support has been formerly applied. Hopefully, a review of these experiences will provide current practitioners with encouragement, advices, knowledge of best practices, and a greater capacity to support democrats everywhere.
The Diplomat’s Handbook, conceived by Ambassador Mark Palmer, is a project commissioned by the Community of Democracies, and produced by the Council for a Community of Democracies with the financial support of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Freedom House, the Princeton Project on National Security, the U.S. Department of State, the Government of India, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Government of Canada*. The preparation of the Handbook has been the fruit of cooperation between Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman and Director of Research Kurt Bassuener, benefiting from generous content contributions from many current and former diplomats, scholars and activists.
* Disclaimer: Content presented in the book does not necessarily reflect the opinion of its financial contributors.
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