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Diplomatic Etiquette and Protocol

Complement your executive and leadership skills to be an effective leader who has the skills in diplomatic protocols to support your high-level leadership and diplomatic engagements at all types of settings.

Diplomatic Protocol explores the etiquette of diplomacy, without which all efforts to negotiate would flounder. In a world of instant communications, and the growing informality and influence of social media, the rules of diplomatic exchange have never been more important.

You will learn in this program examples of both modern and old, from taking up a post for the first time to departing a mission, where diplomatic protocol has been successful and where diplomacy has failed. Without a clear understanding of the practicalities of diplomatic protocol no aspiring ambassador can hope to succeed. With the benefit of first-hand international experience working with the diplomatic, political, military and business communities, the program offers a unique perspective on the challenges facing a troubled world and you will be blended with skills with current interpretation of a subject which is increasingly recognized as being essential in international affairs.

From NATO HQ in Brussels and the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, from the United Nations to many of the royal palaces of the world, our faculty is able to direct you from a privileged position on the past, present and future direction of diplomacy. Diplomatic protocol may be well-established but its interpretation and correct application in a rapidly-changing and complex political environment could not be more relevant. You will learn how to interpret diplomacy and correctly apply its rules in this rapidly-changing world and complex political environment.

You will complement your technical and managerial know-how with skills in diplomatic protocol to support your high-level engagement. You will be given relevant tools and explore rules of international courtesy, formal communication norms, and ceremonial practices to follow in official functions and occasions, all with an emphasis on practical application to the context of negotiation setting associated with international business, government agencies, religious, and corporate leadership. Obtain practical insights into subtle interactions that will improve your operational effectiveness in a wide range of settings. Participants will be challenged by the course faculty with a realistic diplomatic scenario, during which they will have to apply their learning and skills.

Note: The United States Institute of Leadership and Diplomacy offers a more elaborate live instructor-led course on "Diplomatic Protocol and Etiquette Master Class" on an on-demand basis for a group of 20 or more participants from an Agency. For more information, contact:

 Learning Focus:

  • Framework of diplomatic protocol: historic evolution of diplomatic protocol; Vienna Convention (key provisions and basic principles); changes in diplomacy; practical differences between multilateral and bilateral diplomacy.

  • Organizational dimension of diplomatic protocol:  foundational principles of organizing visits and associated events; devising a good program; invitations; seating plans; speeches and statements – striking the right tone.

  • Diplomatic entertaining: foundational principles and objectives of diplomatic entertaining; organizing an official lunch/dinner/reception; formality – dress and ‘tone’; placement for lunches/dinners.

  • Protocol and etiquette in the UN Family: principles of protocol and etiquette within the UN family; different organizational cultures and practice; areas for improvement.

  • Networking and contact-making: Formal vs. informal; techniques to be friendly, authoritative and positive; 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.

Program Outcome

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the general principles of diplomacy and protocol/etiquette and the current trends in this area;

  • Identify principles and best practices for organizing visits and events, by following simple but fundamental procedures as well as practical aspects of social occasions (invitations, attendance, and seating plans);

  • Recognize the elements which make an event a success or a failure;

  • Explain the principles of protocol and etiquette within the UN, diplomatic, governments, and corporate leadership environments;

  • Develop excellent networking and contact-making skills.


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