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What Diplomats Know: An Insider’s Look at a Unique Profession

Session 1 of 2-Session Evening Lecture Series

Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1B0259
Nicholas Kralev

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Few countries around the world cultivate a well-trained corps of professional diplomats—career Foreign Service officers with in-depth expertise in managing a country’s relations with other states. Too often, ambassadorial and other diplomatic posts are given out as rewards for political connections and campaign success. Which means those diplomats need a crash course in understanding and engaging foreign societies, influencing governments and publics, conducting difficult and consequential negotiations, anticipating threats, and taking advantage of opportunities. 

That’s where Nicholas Kralev comes in. As executive director of the Washington International Diplomatic Academy, he leads programs that teach diplomats from around the world what they need to know to be successful in an often-misunderstood and underappreciated profession. Some of the insights, perspectives and guidance imparted in Kralev’s trainings can also hold benefits for those outside the diplomatic scene: specifically, anyone looking for new ways of approaching and thoughtfully interpreting the rapidly changing sphere of international relations today.

Drawing on the content and focus of his academy's professional trainings, Kralev examines the wide range of specialized knowledge and skills that diplomats—both seasoned and new—must call on in their daily lives. He also discusses how a better understanding of what diplomats know can make all of us more knowledgeable observers of the complex world in which they work—and in which we live.


U.S. and Global Diplomacy Overseas

American diplomacy changed dramatically after 9/11, heavily promoting good governance around the world as a way to reduce conflict and bring stability to various regions. Changes that shift that outlook are now taking place, undoing much of what was done during the two most recent administrations and raising questions about our current official commitment to diplomacy. Kralev explains how U.S. diplomats have had to adapt, and how their work affects the lives of Americans back home.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)