Modern diplomacy has many forms. It is both context-specific and culture-specific: what works in one national capital or international organisation may not be sensible or acceptable in another national capital or organisation. Throughout the centuries, some basic norms have emerged to enable international envoys and officials to deal with such differences, and work together in a cooperative, professional way.

This course draws on Ambassador Charles Crawford’s long experience in diplomacy to introduce key principles of diplomatic protocol and explain how they work in practice in organizing visits/events, official entertaining at all levels, and efficient networking and contact-making. The course will further show how seemingly small mistakes or misjudgements can have bad outcomes. One week of the course will be devoted to looking at protocol and etiquette specifically within the UN family.

Participants will finish the course with a strengthened understanding of the underlying logic of diplomacy, and with many subtle practical insights that will improve their technique and operational effectiveness in a wide range of career settings.



Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Discuss general principles of diplomacy and protocol/etiquette, drawing on key real-life examples;
  • Analyse practical diplomatic relations, problems and dilemmas;
  • Differentiate between multilateral and bilateral diplomacy;
  • Identify  unnecessary protocol errors and achieve excellent results in organizing visits and events

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

This course is delivered entirely online in both synchronous and asynchronous modes. It combines webinar learning with hands-on practice assignments and online collaboration activities.  All course materials, practice assignments and discussion forums are accessible on UNKampus, the Staff College’s Learning Management System. Each participant will receive a free copy of Charles Crawford’s book, Speechwriting for Leaders.

The live online sessions are conducted via the WebEx platform with toll and toll-free numbers and/or VoIP for the audio component. No special software is required, participants only need an internet connection and a telephone to participate.

The webinar learning consists of five instructor-led online sessions from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Rome time or 8:00 am – 10:00 am New York time.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

1. What diplomacy is all about (Vienna Convention – key provisions & basic principles; Diplomatic protocol/etiquette in practice: what works and why; How diplomacy is changing/diversifying (formality v. informality, difficult areas to watch; notes verbales); Practical differences between multilateral and bilateral diplomacy; Current trends in diplomacy)

2.  Organising visits (Basic principles of organizing visits and associated events; Devising a good programme; Invitations; Seating plans; Speeches and statements – getting the right tone)

3. Diplomatic entertaining (Basic principles and objectives of diplomatic entertaining; Organising an official lunch/dinner/reception; Invitations; Formality: dress and ‘tone’; Placement for lunches/dinners)

4. Protocol and etiquette within the UN family (Principles of protocol and etiquette within the UN family; Different organizational cultures and practice; Areas for improvement)

5. Networking and contact-making (How to be friendly, authoritative and positive; How to open dialogue with senior people; Thank-you and follow-up letters; when/how to copy people in letters/emails; Getting the right style/’tone’; Adding value by bringing people together)

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

Recommended for staff at the level of P4 and above; other staff may be accepted depending on functional responsibility.

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The course fee of 1,250 USD covers full participation in the online course.

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