Tag Archives: diplomatic missions

What are diplomatic missions for and why are they still important?

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A diplomatic mission is a key aspect of international relations, representing a country, state, or a governmental organization like the United Nations in another country. These resident or non-resident embassies are crucial in maintaining healthy social, cultural, and economic ties between two countries.

When missions are established between commonwealth nations, this is called high commissions, with their heads named high commissioners. The premise here is that commonwealth nations are not foreign to one another. The high commissioner is, for all intents and purposes, still operates like an ambassador. However, they are accredited by the government of the receiving Commonwealth country, not to the head of state.

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There are other forms of mission officials, like the Vatican’s envoy and the consulate, which focuses on dealing with individuals and businesses. But all diplomatic missions are guided by the need to intercede in issues related to trade, war, and peace-making. Diplomatic missions used to strictly deal with the issues mentioned, but a growing global world has required such relations to include other concerns like culture, diaspora, human rights, and the environment.

The idea behind diplomacy is to find mutually beneficial and acceptable solutions for common national challenges, in a non-confrontational manner. In short, diplomacy is needed to maintain the ideals of civility, the root term that defines our modern civilizations.

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Diplomacy 101: A beginner’s guide to diplomatic missions


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The ability to practice diplomacy is an integral aspect of any state. It has been practiced since the formation of the first city-states. Also called a foreign mission, a diplomatic mission refers to a group of people from one state or organization existing in another state. The group represents the sending state officially in the receiving state. It is usually embodied by the embassy: the main office of a country’s diplomatic representatives located in the capital city of another country.

Consulates are smaller diplomatic missions often located outside the capital of the receiving state, but can still be in the capital, usually when the sending country has no embassy in the receiving state. Diplomatic missions can likewise be non-resident permanent missions to more than one country.

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Diplomats were originally sent only for specific negotiations and come back home when the mission is finished. These people were often either relatives of a state’s ruling family or high-ranking officers, giving them legitimacy during negotiations.

The beginning of modern diplomacy can be traced to the states of Northern Italy during the early Renaissance period, with the first embassies having been established in the 13th century. Soon all the major European powers were exchanging representatives. Spain was the first to send a permanent representative when it appointed an ambassador to the Court of England in 1487. By the late 16th century, permanent missions were common in Europe.

The Congress of Vienna of 1815 established an international system of diplomatic rank, after the fall of Napoleon. Disputes on precedence among nations and the appropriate diplomatic ranks used continued for over a century until after World War II, when the rank of ambassador became the norm.

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How do diplomatic missions work?

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The term “diplomacy” comes from the Greeks, and it means the practice of dealing with other nations to foster better relations and negotiate social, cultural, environmental, and economic issues such as peace, trade, pollution, and human rights.

Diplomatic missions are offices that represent a country’s government in the territory of another nation. They are either embassies or consulates, with the former established at the capital city of the target country and the latter set up in any of the other nation’s major cities. There are both resident and non-resident embassies, which means a permanent office may exist in one nation, but several, non-permanent offices can be opened in other countries.

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A good diplomat will exhibit extreme tact and sensitivity, especially in delicate matters that could lead to the losing of ties between two countries or even war. A diplomatic mission is of course not just about the consul general; it is composed of a group of individuals from one country and can also be an intergovernmental alliance or organization. For example, the United Nations is the biggest diplomatic mission in the world.

The rights and so-called diplomatic immunity of people in a diplomatic mission are protected by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Diplomats and their staff can both choose to reside within the embassy or consulate’s compound or choose highly secure private residences that are equally protected by established rights and immunity.

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