New Diplomacy: How it Affects You

New Diplomacy

What it means and why you should care

New Diplomacy is the idea that the common citizen has a role in modern diplomacy.  Taken further, it means that interactions between people from around the globe will help to shape foreign policies and ideals through learning and cultural sharing.  By interacting closely with one another in a real world setting we are able to learn from one another’s perspective and way of life.  New diplomacy can also be synonymous with the idea of soft diplomacy.  Although it seems that soft diplomacy is less policy related and more personal.

In this 21st century, we cannot help but recognize how global our world has become.  Depending on where in the world you live, you can meet people from the four corners of the earth just by going to a local grocery store.  People have migrated, intermingled, and moved throughout the world for a variety of reasons;  some do it out of pleasure, while others do it out of necessity.

The Idea of an educated citizen

In many ways, the simple notion of new diplomacy is the idea of an educated citizen.  In this particular circumstance, being educated does not amount to any physical paper documents that one may have received from formal education.  Being educated means that through exposure and personal experience people have been shown the world first hand and hold some understanding that the world is larger than just what is important to them personally.  The truth is, the world is not so simple anymore.  It wasn’t too long ago that one could easily disregard anything that happened across the planet, mainly because you wouldn’t find out about it.  Technology and globalization of trade has forever changed that.  Now, you can find out what happens 3,000 miles (~4,828 km) away in an instant.  People who have family worlds away, can communicate with them as if they lived across the street.  The days of being able to stick your head in the sand and forget about the world are long gone.

Diversity in thought

The most recent trends in society are cultural diversity and awareness.  Regardless of any political reservations that one has about diversity in the workplace, the fact is that people need to be aware about differences in practices.  Presently, the chances that you will interact with people from foreign countries at work has reached an all-time high.  Diversity in thought is more about respecting each individual’s right to self-practice and understanding of general differences (i.e. tolerance), than it is of separating people into groups.  Diversity in thought tends to follow lines on religious practice, language barriers, and family practices.   New diplomacy is the idea that people should be understanding of these aspects and not attempt to change everyone for their own, but rather seek to understand them.

The Engaged Citizen

Being an engaged citizen means bringing together all the principles listed above.  It means that one actively seeks to understand what they do not know and learn about why it affects them.  They do not just do this in a classroom, but their education takes them to do independent research and to seek answers on their own.  They become conscious of how everyday decisions can both directly and indirectly affect others, and the role that each of us play in accomplishing something greater than ourselves.

The Complexities of New Diplomacy

The complexities of new diplomacy are numerous.  For example, it is not so easy to build cross-cultural understanding and tolerance when people are not open to there being differences between one another.  In addition, in extreme cases, people from contrasting cultures will have difficulty understanding differences in religious practices, holidays, and even gender roles if they are not exposed to them for a long period.  So, it is clear that there is a strong need for tolerance and open-mindedness as well as a desire to work together.  We have started to see this trend taking fruition, but it will take generations for some people to seek this mindset.

How it affects you?

Well, every person has autonomy in their own minds.  You can believe what you want and feel how you wish to feel towards others in the world.  The determining factor is what kind of world we as a people wish to live in.

Almost anyone can attempt to go through life now and ignore other things that occur around them and in the world, but I dare say that those things that people choose to ignore will encroach upon their lives in some fashion eventually.  It really isn’t enough for us to just worry about things closest to us any longer.  We must keep abreast and knowledgeable about the world around us and the issues that take place on a greater scale.  We can learn from one another and use our strengths to build on others weaknesses and vice-versa.

How do you fit in?

A person does not have to travel the world to take part in the idea of new diplomacy.  Nor do they really have to do anything irregular outside of their normal schedule.  The fundamental principle of new diplomacy is of an educated citizen.  A person who educates themselves on issues and learns about what goes on outside of their existence is, in theory, practicing this idea.  People will choose to get involved in a variety of ways.  Some will be content with just knowing, others will attempt to get more heavily involved through charity, activism, and through educating others.

New diplomacy is the idea we should take an active stance in our world and ensure that policy, events, and charity are not just priorities, but also that they need to be ethically and morally handled by those in power.  According to this notion, we should openly engage in the world around us and realize that world events affect us directly due to the nature of our modern world.  Will practicing new diplomacy solve all of our problems?  Probably not.  However, I think that we would be foolish as a people not to believe that new diplomacy has benefits to offer us as a society.

If you are interested in news related to new diplomacy.  This is a link to an online newspaper by  Gökhan.


What do you think?

What does new diplomacy mean to you?  Do you feel that it is applicable in your life or not?


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