Ambivalence in International Dialogue: Implications for Diplomatic Training
Diplomats are civil servants who represent their governments abroad. By the nature of their work, diplomats work in multicultural environments. Working in intercultural settings can involve grey areas, paradoxes, and a wide range of emotions. This article analyzes how diplomats construct their professional identity, how they approach intercultural diversity and how they manage ambivalence. Qualitative interviews with senior diplomats as well as a review of literature from multiple disciplines indicate that it is vital for diplomats to be highly skilled in self-management; in building and maintaining relationships; and in operating in intercultural environments. We argue that it is essential to include these emotional, social, and cultural competences in diplomatic training so that diplomats may become effective bridge-builders. This will be particularly relevant for a diplomat whose country is currently involved in a conflict with another country, as well as for diplomats who work in the context of a political conflict.