Costas Constantinou – Rethinking Diplomatic Culture



Event Date: 15-16 February 2013
Deighton Room,
Trinity College,
Cambridge CB2 1TQ

Translating Diplomatic Culture

Part of the Diplomatic Cultures Research Network (AH/J013900/1)

Professor Costas  Constantinou (University of Cyprus) – Rethinking Diplomatic Culture

To what extent does a common diplomatic culture exist and facilitate international understanding? In responding to the question posed by the organizers, this keynote will cover the following interlinked issues: First, the broadening of the notion of diplomatic culture so as to adequately account and do justice to the diversity and complexity of diplomatic practices across times and spaces. Second, the need to view diplomatic culture not as a mere depository of settled ideas, values and ways of doing things that august professionals possess but rather as a battleground of ideas, values and ways of doing things that can bring about rival practices and understandings on the ground. Third, the need to assess diplomatic culture’s contribution to international ‘understanding’, by focusing on what kind of understanding is made possible, among whom and for what purpose. Fourth, the extent to which a diplomatic culture emerges by simultaneously making the indifferent matter (i.e. promoting particularism) and the different indifferent (i.e. promoting universalism), and what kind of tension this creates for the practice of diplomacy.

Costas M. Constantinou is Professor of International Relations at the University of Cyprus. He has taught academic courses on diplomacy, trained professional diplomats, and published extensively on the subject, including On the Way Diplomacy (Minnesota University Press, 1996) and the co-edited Sustainable Diplomacies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).


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