Communication with other cultures has always been central to diplomacy. The essence of the diplomat's work lies in the relations between countries and peoples. Important decisions in international relations and related fields effect citizens of more than one nation, therefore the question of whether communication between people of different nations is effective and whether all parties emerge with the same understanding is of crucial importance. Lack of knowledge of another culture may confuse or even offend the people we wish to communicate with, making the conclusion of international or bilateral agreements difficult or impossible.
In recent years professionals in a wide variety of fieldsóincluding diplomacy, international relations, development, scientific and academic cooperation, business, education, health, and cultureóhave come to realise the importance of intercultural communication in their everyday work. Fast travel, international media, and the Internet allow direct communication between people of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Economic globalisation means that no country can function in isolation but each must interact with others for survival. The global nature of many widely diverse modern problems and issues such as the environment, governance of the Internet, poverty and international terrorism call for cooperation between nations. Intercultural communication is no longer an option, but a necessity.
DiploFoundation began exploring the field of language and diplomacy three years ago. Since then we have hosted an international conference on language and diplomacy and published the proceedings, developed a language and diplomacy Internet portal and initiated an online discussion group on language and diplomacy. With this conference we begin research and discussion on the closely related topic of intercultural communication. With the help of participants from the diplomatic, academic and business communities we hope to uncover the interplay between diplomacy and intercultural communication; to learn what diplomacy can gain from and contribute to the field.
For more details and for conference registration information, please visit the conference website http://www.diplomacy.edu/Conferences/IC/default.asp or e-mail us at email@example.com
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