Eleven: Diplomatic Education


In most countries, those selected for the diplomatic service areelites. This does not refer to their social background — in fact in almost all countries a democratization process is evident, interms of the economic groups and the educational institutions to which the new entrants belong. They are elites because behind each young man or woman who wins the coveted appointment, stand dozens, or in some countries, even several hundreds, of unsuccessful applicants. Despite all the diversification in job opportunities that has taken place in our globalizing world, and the opening up of career avenues that did not exist a decade or two back, representing one’s country abroad remains a coveted honor, attracting the bestand the brightest in virtually every country that has an open,competitive selection process. What kind of higher education is the best preparation for a career in a diplomatic service? Is there a particular kind of discipline that is best suited to produce envoys? What are the needs for professional training for diplomats, at the stage of induction, and later on, as the individual’s career progresses? In Europe, especially in Germany and its neighboring states,until recently a career in law was considered to be best suited forthis profession. That has slowly changed; now even in Germany the majority of the entrants are economics graduates. In contrast, in North America a good number are graduates in international affairs (in Europe this subject is less popular as a mainstream universitycourse). Most foreign ministries do not restrict entry to graduates 96“ 2 0 ” : An Anthology of a particular discipline; in the United States, Britain, India andin most other countries graduates in any discipline may apply. Incontrast, China and a few others, restrict entry to those who have studied the humanities, especially international affairs and foreign languages.

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