Friday, February 12, 2016

Ban Ki-moon’s Travels - Escape Hatch or Act of Diplomacy?

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This article is re-published * as part ofFridays With MUNPlanet and its series dedicated to world politics and the United Nations.  This time PassBluebrings you an article by  Helmut Volger on UN Secretaries General, and how their business travel relates to their diplomatic style and policies.  The author notes that "Ban is hardly the first secretary-general to use traveling as a political instrument, yet he has made much more use of it than his predecessors" in practicing "public diplomacy" in what can bring more support to the UN in 193 member states. 

Regarding the agenda of Ban’s travels, he meets a great range of groups, and is thus practicing a strategy of “public diplomacy,” managing international relations “through public communications media and through dealings with the wide range of non-governmental entities (political parties, corporations, trade associations, labour unions, educational institutions . . .  and so on),” as Alan K. Henrikson, a scholar at Tufts University, defined it.
To appeal directly to social groups and media in member countries makes sense as the UN searches for support and solutions to urgent global problems such as climate change. Ban’s talking campaigns — on the spot — are clearly not spectacular, as everyone knows who has heard him speak. Yet in the long run, his traveling might be increasing support for the UN in its 193 member countries. ... 

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