The art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations and skills in handling affairs without arousing hostility is called diplomacy. It is the established method of influencing the decisions and behaviour of foreign governments and peoples through dialogue, negotiation, and other measures short of war or violence.

Modern diplomatic practices are a product of the post-renaissance European state system. By the 20th century, the diplomatic practices pioneered in Europe had been adopted throughout the world, and diplomacy had expanded to cover summit meetings and other international conferences, parliamentary diplomacy, the international activities of supranational and subnational entities, unofficial diplomacy by nongovernmental elements, and the work of international civil servants.

Diplomacy is the principal substitute for the use of force or underhanded means in statecraft.

In the 18th century the French term diplomate (“diplomat” or “diplomatist”) came to refer to a person authorised to negotiate on behalf of a state. Diplomats nowadays are the primary—but far from the only—practitioners of diplomacy. They are specialists in carrying messages and negotiating. Their weapons are words, backed by the power of the state or organisation they represent. Diplomats help leaders to understand the attitudes and actions of foreigners and to develop strategies and tactics that will shape the behaviour of foreigners, especially foreign governments. The wise use of diplomats is a key to successful foreign policy.

International organisations and particularly intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) have become major arenas for diplomacy and decision-making. They are also independent actors engaging in diplomatic activities to galvanise international attention, carry out their mandates, and to work directly with governments, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), and other IGOs. Worth to mention the significant role of NGO diplomacy in intergovernmental negotiations drawing out distinctions between the ways governmental diplomats and NGO diplomats work and what they can represent.

Diplomacy – and cultural diplomacy in particular – is one of the cornerstones of international cultural relations. The relatively recent scientific discourse on cultural relations also focuses on various aspects of modern diplomacy, making it as a distinguished foreign policy instrument in forming relations between and among governments and any foreign policy actors. The recognition of diplomacy within the theories and practice of cultural relations urges the Institute for Cultural Relations Policy to dedicate special attention on various theories and the history of diplomacy. The ICRP publishes online resource materials that might be beneficial for students, researchers or anyone who deal with International and Cultural Relations.

The Diplomacy section of the ICRP website is divided into three blocks where selected information is available in the following formats:

  • The History block contains descriptive and factual information about the history of cultural relations with a special focus on the transformations of international relations. This block also includes a collection of the highlights of historical events which influenced the development of interstate relations. The timeline of significant historical events of international cultural relations are also revealed in this block within the calendars of international relations. Read more…
  • The Organisations block contains summaries of aims, facts and analysis of future prospects of international organisations, INGOs and NGOs focusing on cultural relations. Read more…
  • The Listings block comprises of easily comprehensible lists of people, events, definitions and organisations that determine cultural relations through the theories of diplomacy and diplomatic actions. Read more…