If you’ve ever wondered how people across the world in different communities with differing views still manage to communicate and negotiate with each other, there’s a good chance the answer has to do with something called public diplomacy. Diplomacy in general is foundational to international relations and helps people from all over understand each other without harming relations or causing miscommunications. If you’re planning to pursue a career that involves helping varying groups of people negotiate or understand each other better, having a better understanding of what public diplomacy is could help you vastly improve your skillset.
1. It Helps International Communications
In some ways, public diplomacy is similar to public relations in that it helps people present their best in a palatable way. Good diplomacy practices not only help you appear at your best, but also help you understand others in a peaceful way. Public diplomacy has played a crucial role in international and domestic communications over the decades and continues to be vitally important today. When different groups have polarized political ideologies, for instance, it’s important to facilitate hostility-free discussions.
2. There Are Several Career Routes
If you’re interested in working in public diplomacy, you should know that there’s more than one related career option. In fact, the skills you learn in diplomacy training can be carried to many roles, from governmental positions to NGOs. For instance, one common route is to work in international commerce. For these positions, you’ll have to be familiar both with global business environments and with potential cultural clashes in order to help international companies, governments, organizations and services find common ground for trade purposes. Another increasingly popular route is that of cyber diplomacy, which takes diplomatic approaches and applies them to online debates. You may also be interested in pursuing careers addressing international conflict management or terrorism issues.
3. It Increases Cultural Awareness
Part of the root of many misunderstandings can be traced back to underlying cultural differences. When you work in public diplomacy, high levels of cultural awareness are indispensable. In your work, you may become familiar with the culture of a specific region or peoples and use your knowledge to explain surface differences that, left unexamined, could cause conflicts and even hostile situations. In this way, cultural awareness can help foster peace across borders.
4. It Helps Resolve Conflicts
Finally, one of the most important goals of public diplomacy is to help resolve standing conflicts in a timely and tactful way. Part of this is the aforementioned cultural awareness, but part of it is also developing high degrees of compassion for others unlike you. With a deeper understanding of and empathy with different peoples, you can help diffuse growing problems and resolve conflicts quickly and peacefully.
While few people may have heard the term, public diplomacy is a vitally important area in maintaining political relations and good communications both domestically and around the world. If you’re interested in pursuing a diplomatic career or a career in which helping opposing sides find common ground is essential, understanding public diplomacy is key. With these facts in mind, you’ll be better equipped to facilitate communications and understanding among vastly different groups of people.