PEOPLE'S DIPLOMACY

by Georges KRASSOVSKY

The so-called people's or citizens' diplomacy holds sway ever more in the life of many countries and sometimes plays a certain role in international relations. This is a phenomenon of our times. But before dealing with the problems people's diplomacy, one should clearly define the term.

People's diplomacy is a matter of concern for ordinary citizens, the so-called common people, who have no special knowledge or diplomas and do not hold high positions. But these are people who are aware of their involvement in world events and who wish to act accordingly. In other words, people's diplomacy always implies goal-oriented actions. As for the aims pursued by people's diplomacy, they are consistently of a humanitarian character: peace, disarmament, environmental protection, human rights promotion, healthy and decent living conditions for all, and the like.

Another characteristic feature of people's diplomacy activists is their conviction that the aims they pursue can be achieved through impact on public opinion which, in its turn, can influence governments. Nevertheless, such influence does not necessarily mean pressure. This is rather an encouragement and the people's voice which reaches the ears of those in power. This is what ancient Romans called "vox populi" and what the governments claiming to be democratic should reckon with.

As for the means used by people's diplomacy to achieve its aims, these are above all a flat refusal of any violence, both physical and moral. In other words, people's diplomacy is fully opposed to terrorism, putschism, armed uprising, etc. People's diplomats are inclined to act and influence primarily through mass media. But for this purpose, what is needed is either to have one's own publication or to initiate an event of interest for the press, radio and TV, that is, congresses, exhibitions, mass rallies, marches, other events, to mention but a few. But this is not so easy because journalists are mostly satiated with what happens repeatedly, they always look for something new, unusual and extraordinary. For this reason people's diplomats, if they want to be efficient, should constantly renew their methods and display creative imagination.

These are the features of people's diplomacy: to have something to say, express it explicitly in order to be heard.

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