Diplomatic affairs have been in the news a lot lately, particularly related to the United States, Europe, and Russia, which makes it a great time to review some vocabulary related to international diplomacy, as well as words related to speaking in a diplomatic way.
First let’s take a look at some vocabulary related to international diplomacy:
diplomat: A diplomat is any individual who represents their country abroad. Diplomats help to negotiate treaties, attend formal dinners, arrange for visas, and attend meetings and negotiations.
ambassador: An ambassador is the President, Prime Minster, or King/Queen’s highest-ranking representative in a foreign country. Ambassadors are usually appointed by the leader of the country they represent.
embassy: An embassy is the office building for a country’s diplomatic mission abroad. Sometimes an embassy is also the residence of the ambassador, but other times the ambassador lives in another home. When inside an embassy building you are technically on foreign soil.
Secretary of State: In America this is the title for the person who is the head of the State Department and top most person responsible for foreign affairs, other than the President. The President appoints this person to work for him/her. The Secretary of State often travels abroad on behalf of the President. This person lives in the United States, unlike an ambassador who lives in the country they are working.
State Department: In America this is the federal department that sets and maintains foreign policies for the country. Many people work within the United States State Department, those people who work outside of America are called diplomats, those that work within the United States generally are not.
When there are international crisis or simply negotiations, it is important to use a particular kind of language, often what we call in ‘diplomatic language’ in English. One must say exactly what they mean to say and be very careful with what they say. You have to be quite proficient in a language to be a diplomat, ambassador, or embassy employee, and you also have to use certain language skills, which are listed below.
tactfulness – to be full of sensitivity toward others in what you say
honesty – to tell the truth and be sincere
encouraging – to give support and confidence
respect – to have admiration for another person’s opinions and abilities
directness – to aim in a certain direction and move toward it in the shortest way possible
persuasive – to be able to change another person’s ideas or help them see something in a new way
What other qualities or way of speaking do you think diplomats need?