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Diplomacy has always been one of the most humane methods of achieving political goals. Negotiations are better than violence, so the quality of a diplomat’s skills influences the negotiated situation directly. In other words, the usefulness of a diplomat depends on the experience, negotiation skills, charisma, and other important characteristics that must be demonstrated in very difficult circumstances and under great pressure sometimes.
It all makes the requirements to the professional diplomat extremely high. Celebrities have one very distinctive feature to have an influence on people. It is fame. Their efforts as diplomats that represent some organization or a country are not based on their professional experience. They are based on the trust of people who recognize celebrities as the people with the power to influence important social and political processes in a country or region.
Despite the obvious lack of professionalism and experience, celebrity diplomats can achieve results. Considering the growing influence of the celebrity diplomacy concept in the sphere of international and domestic politics, the paper is aimed at summarizing the article “From A-lister to Aid Worker: Does Celebrity Diplomacy Really Work?” by Paul Vallely, exploring the influence of celebrity diplomacy on the development of the fragile states, and arguing about the impact that celebrity diplomacy has on the traditional diplomats.
The article “From A-lister to Aid Worker: Does Celebrity Diplomacy Really Work?” by Paul Vallely explores the issue of the usefulness or uselessness of such a concept as celebrity diplomacy. The author states that the phenomenon of celebrity diplomacy raises certain questions regarding the appropriateness of such activities of celebrities in the area in which they have zero experience. The fears are about the impact of the unprofessional activities of the celebrities on the political and social processes, especially in the undeveloped and developing regions like Africa, for example.
The idea of involving celebrities in political campaigns and various international social programs is not new. However, the experience of such endeavors has not always been successful. The author provides the examples of Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Sophia Loren, Geri Halliwell, Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, George Weah, Bono, Bob Geldof, Eric Clapton, and some others to demonstrate that fame and recognition in the professional sphere would it be music, movies, or sports, cannot guarantee the same success in such area as diplomacy, fundraising for non-government organizations (NGOs), and political activities.
In fact, there are not that many successful examples of celebrity diplomacy. Vallely explores the activities of Bob Geldof, Bono, and Angelina Jolie only as these celebrities have managed to become noticeable as the lobbyists of the interests of people. He emphasizes the role of celebrities in fundraising, for example, and organizing additional help from the governments in the regions that need it the most. At the same time, the author criticizes the ability of celebrities to influence complex and interrelated issues such as fairer trade, for example.
By such statements, Vallely explains the role of the celebrities in celebrity diplomacy as the way of facilitating certain processes inside the societies where such celebrities try to help and nothing more. Of course, there are exceptions, as in the case of Oprah Winfrey and her potential appointment as the US representative in Great Britain. However, such cases do not change the full picture. Celebrity diplomacy does not have any substantial influence today (yet).
Celebrity Diplomacy and the Development of the Fragile States
The role of celebrity diplomacy in the development of fragile states such as the countries of Africa, for example, is rather controversial. At first glance, the help to the population of Africa is a very noble and good deed. Angelina Jolie, Bono, and others have raised money to organize additional aid to this region, lobbied the changes in the financial support for the region coming from the developed countries, and introduced their vision of the needs of the people of Africa in different summits and meetings. It had helped Africa to get additional aid, feed children, and fight AIDS (more or less successfully) and other diseases.
On the other hand, such help only hurts the region, according to the author. It is hard to disagree with such a point of view if to look at the consequences of this help. The region appears to be dependent on the external sources of almost everything, from money to medicine and food. It makes the region unable to develop. It, in turn, makes the ability of the region to solve their issues independently and puts Africans into the situation in which they are now. In other words, good intentions and deeds only continue the suffering of the African people.
Celebrity Diplomacy and the Traditional Diplomats
The concept of celebrity diplomacy can be useful in the cases when traditional diplomacy either fails, or it is ineffective. It is hard to imagine the effect of the visit of some diplomat to the problematic region, for example. It is hard because there will be no effect. People do not know diplomats and do not trust them much, to be said. On the other hand, Angelina Jolie and a bunch of African or Mexican children around is a noticeable event that focuses the attention of the media and people on the problems there. It is the case when celebrities, being diplomats, use their fame to bring good to the people around.
However, there is the other side of the coin. Celebrities are public people, and when they speak on behalf of the country that they represent somewhere, the words of Angelina or Bono can be perceived as the official statement of the state. The problem is that such people do not have the professional experience of the traditional diplomats, and thus, they may not have the necessary delicacy in the situation when it is utterly needed. It can hurt the image of the country to a substantial extent. Traditional diplomats should not worry about their workplaces because they will always be needed.
Summing, the paper summarized the article “From A-lister to Aid Worker: Does Celebrity Diplomacy Really Work?” by Paul Vallely, who explored the influence of celebrity diplomacy on the development of the fragile states and argued about the impact that celebrity diplomacy has on the traditional diplomats. It appeared that celebrity diplomacy is a complex concept that should be evaluated from different points of view.
As it happens in any sphere, there are successful diplomats and those who have failed. It seemingly depends on the efforts applied by such a diplomat. At the same time, celebrity diplomats are not a threat to traditional diplomats since they perform different duties. There are some exceptions that only support the rule.