On December 10th, the MARPE network organized the fourth MARPE Diplo Talk to reflect about the idea of corporate diplomacy as a compass for public/private management in turbulent times. The keynote speaker was Professor Wilfried Bolewski, a professor of international law and diplomacy at Sciences Po in Paris, The American University of Paris and Free University of Berlin and a former German diplomat who has served in Italy, Poland, Australia, Pakistan, Cameroon and was Ambassador to Jamaica, Belize and Bahamas. He participated in the NATO Nuclear Planning Group and the United Nations Conference on Disarmament. Professor Bolewski has served as deputy chief of protocol for German Chancellors Schroeder and Merkel, and he is publishing on new dimensions of diplomacy, including the role of multinational corporations and non-state actors.

“In the 21st Century, our universal community of fate is characterized by grand challenges, external shocks and global fragilities in crisis context, such as economic volatility and societal upheaval. These destabilizing turbulences reveal a paradigmatic shift in the global system with its dysfunctional multilateral organizations towards an era of fragmented and disintegrated international (dis-)order”. This is the starting point proposed by Professor Wilfried Bolweski for this talk. Advancing that “international society is in demand of content-sensitive orientation knowledge to reassess, adjust and accommodate diplomacy’s essentials (human factor interdependency and interactions: diplomacy for good) to new expectations of the public sphere”. And “confronted with social and environmental demands international business enterprises seen as “private public entities” are requested to get involved in issues of public concern by providing public goods and co-creating more just and peaceful co-existing societies. International diplomacy provides the tools for corporate conflict management. In tackling grand challenges, corporations are becoming diplomatic co-actors in the trade of diplomacy and acquiring access to the diplomatic arena. (…) Today’s societal purpose of international management is not merely business, and business is not an end in itself, but its social impact should also serve a common good purpose. (…) In tackling grand challenges, corporations are becoming diplomatic co-actors in the trade of diplomacy and acquiring access to the diplomatic arena.”

The dialogue with Professor Bolweski highlights an innovative concept of diplomacy that shifts the focus of organizations, giving priority to society for what he calls a “Societal Diplomacy” aimed at managing situational and contextual ambivalence, harmonizing divergent interests and expectations, in a holistic approach, which includes emotional, social and intercultural intelligence.

Bolewski’s full intervention will be available in the
MARPE Diplo book to be published in 2021!

Go to
MARPE website