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Celebrity Diplomacy!

by on May 15, 2012

Globalization has changed the world and it had a massive impact on the procedure of diplomacy. Diplomacy has now taken different forms and different actors also play an important role, diplomats are no longer the only ones on diplomatic missions, also non-state actors, such as Ngo´s and celebrities engage themselves on those missions.

Due to the rise of new economic powers and the new media, traditional diplomacy is facing a challenge of legitimacy and efficiency. Celebrities have now become vital actors in supporting and raising consciousness about humanitarian issues, as well as negotiating with head of states.

Celebrities have long been involved in varying political and humanitarian causes. However, since Andrew Coopers, a professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, intriguing work about celebrity diplomacy, academics have begun to take a deeper look into the involvement of celebrities in International Relations as a form of diplomacy. In his book cooper presents an interesting concept and primary examples of the phenomenon. He argues that anyone can be a diplomat; however celebrities are a specific group that can embrace the role of the diplomat. The message which these individuals deliver is often informal in its nature and they are no experts in these fields with any formal training, also they use the new media and concerts, such as Bob Geldofs Live8 concerts to raise awareness.

Cooper argues that the influence of celebrities on global issues must be appreciated and recognized on a deeper level; furthermore advocates of celebrity diplomacy argue that this concept has immense potential and it draws attention and awareness of a complex set of global concerns to wider audiences, which might go unnoticed. Celebrities of any kind, like Movie stars, musicians or athletes have become rising diplomatic actors in promoting issues such as poverty, climate change, access to fresh water and human rights.

Unlike diplomats, stars like Angelina Jolie, Mia Farrow, Bono and George Clooney are taking action and they have become determined advocates to end the world’s poverty and misery.

For example, actress Mia Farrow has used the media as an open and effective tool to put pressure on the international community in order to intervene in Darfur, her deployment led to Sudan’s formal acceptance of UN peacekeepers in the conflict zone.

As a UNHCR goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie is one of the most respected, important and influential celebrity activists. Her work has been crucial for the UNHCR, in both increasing donations and increasing awareness. With her status and her engagement in global issues she able to discuss humanitarian issues with politicians, policy makers and world leaders.

Also, George Clooney plays an important role in this new form of diplomacy as a UN Messenger of Peace. Clooney has donated millions of dollars in order to stop the genocide in Sudan and he also appealed to the UN Security Council to help stabilize the region.

However, the leading celebrity diplomat out of all of them is musician Bono, who worked closely with international leaders in the G8 summits, lobbying for debt relief in Africa.

Even though the world listens and pays attention when celebrities talk, which makes them more effective than traditional diplomats, there still is criticism from within the diplomatic arena. The critic’s state that celebrities have no knowledge in this domain and therefore are not qualified enough to be effective.

In spite of all the critiques, celebrity diplomacy has been proven very successful and effective in international affairs. Therefore, it needs to be taken serious, since they do a better and more effective job the “professional” diplomats.

 

http://www.learcenter.org/pdf/celebritydiplomacy.pdf

http://www.cigionline.org/articles/2007/12/celebrity-efforts-will-redefine-diplomacy

http://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/index.php/about/bio_detail/andrew_f_cooper/

http://stockholm.sgir.eu/uploads/Merging%20worlds-celebrity%20diplomacy%20in%20international%20affairs.pdf

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