There are the ordinary (so few), the extraordinary (all), the plenipotentiary (a little Olympian) and, last but not least, the missionaries (a bit like Scouts).
This is a funny kind of ambassador, with no territory, residence, accreditations, tribulations or expatriations, no foreign dignitaries to pamper, and no ministerial visits to prepare.
But they embody a theme: after using up the nine lives of an embassy cat (like me), changing job and home port every three years, hopping from posts abroad to posts in Paris, at the French Foreign Ministry’s Central Administration, one fine day, they are reborn in a theme.
But what theme? That is the question, or rather the character role.
Thematic ambassadors, diplomacy in uncharted territory
Their themes are as diverse as they come. Just to list them is to breathe the air of the times, with future priorities rather than past ones as it is important to be at the forefront of diplomatic action.
The role of these missionaries is to win over as many people as possible. Every ambassador has to cultivate their country or theme, just as Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince cultivated his rose.
Their role is to go out and discover new worlds.
As Luís de Camões wrote about the great Portuguese navigators who went out to explore known and unknown seas: “and if there had been more of the world, they would have reached it.”
And so, not only does our network spread throughout the world and cover almost every country, but there are also the poles, for example, where there is no embassy but for which there is an ambassador. And why stop at land? The seas and air also need to be protected. This is the new frontier of international affairs, that of the our survival – and the planet’s – which needs to bring together all diplomats from around the world. So the charted territory, well known to geographical ambassadors, and then the wildcard – the thematic ambassadors – to cover the rest.
There are no holes in the Ministry’s net!
Ambassadors for the new frontiers of diplomacy
In this era of globalization, power no longer stops at the borders and sovereignty of governments. It is important to win the battle of ideas, Plato’s “superior world”, and master these new networks of influence and new players.
That is what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aims to do for businesses, some of which have greater economic clout than most countries, so that they participate in our goal of a more regulated, fairer world and contribute to the sustainable development of the planet, to which they, too, owe so much.
We are the country of the 300 cheeses. We don’t have that many ambassadors, despite those who also promote regions and their products, but we need them on the new frontiers of diplomacy.
Moreover, while there is sadly no ambassador for gastronomy, that is because we all are, especially since our Minister has taken action in this area, in which we have no shortage of ammunition.