We will write a custom Essay on Celebrity Diplomacy in Paul Valley’s Article specifically for you
301 certified writers online
In his article called From A-lister to Aid worker: Does celebrity diplomacy work?, Paul Valley explores the phenomenon of the celebrities operating as diplomats and the outcomes this sudden switch of roles may produce. The author begins his writing by stating that the vast majority of the world’s leaders and decision-makers would find it challenging to say ‘no’ to well-known artists of various fields (Valley 1).
Besides, the author reports that ever since the middle of the 20th century, many celebrities have been practicing various outspoken acts of diplomacy alongside their careers in the sphere of entertainment. Therefore, the contemporary world knows dozens of celebrities of various backgrounds and specialties willing to act as the goodwill ambassadors for different noble causes. Valley examines several particular cases (both successful and unsuccessful) for a purpose to distinguish what characteristics are more typical for the celebrity diplomats, what barriers they often face, and what difference they can make in the world.
One of the first celebrities acting as a goodwill ambassador mentioned by Valley in the article is Angelina Jolie, one of the world’s most loved and admired actresses who have devoted herself to the noble actions helping the impoverished populations all around the world. The deeds and journeys of Jolie are a well-known fact; the photographs of her meeting and speaking with the people of many deprived communities have been published online and in news magazines for many years.
Valley points out that Jolie’s attempt to become a goodwill ambassador faced some initial barriers in a form of prejudice as the famous actress used to be perceived as a spoiled rich diva who tried to use the charity work and noble causes just to enhance her popularity (Valley 1). Compared to the successful example of Angelina Jolie, Valley also discusses some of the less impressive appearances (such as those of Geri Halliwell, Sophia Lauren, Paul McCartney, and Heather Mills).
Valley points out that regardless of the powerful charisma, charm, and fame of the celebrities that help them gain influence and publicity, the well-known singers, actors, and models often lack professional diplomatic knowledge and skills to perform at the same level the trained diplomats and ambassadors (3).
However, the diplomatic victories achieved by the public personas are obvious and valuable. To deny the fact that celebrities gain a great deal of success performing as ambassadors for various worldwide organizations means to refuse to face reality. The author emphasizes that due to their limitation on the professional level, celebrity diplomats can find success only in some of the spheres such as the relief of debt, but cannot make any difference in the questions of free trade (Valley 4). Besides, the celebrity ambassadors are not seen as the representatives of any particular nation; instead, they are viewed as the amplifiers of the opinion of the public.
The impact produced by celebrity diplomats is impossible to deny. It makes sense for the public persons to exploit their fame for a greater purpose than moneymaking and use it as an instrument helping them influence certain unfair situations. In some cases, such ambassadors as Orlando Bloom or Angelina Jolie can produce a stronger impact than the trained diplomats from Unicef or UNESCO. However, as pointed out by Valley, however powerful the voices of the celebrity representatives may be; they are the artists and performers; that way, they should not be treated as the diplomatic professionals and international representatives at the higher level (3). Stars are the voices of the public; they act as the volunteering representatives of the masses, who are to be viewed as private citizens.
Besides, in the cases of celebrities involved in the charity and fund-raising events, there is a significant deal of personal interest as some of the stars engage in the noble deeds for a purpose to strengthen their reputation and gain wider publicity. Moreover, for many celebrities, it is difficult to abandon the image of an entertainer and dedicate themselves to a qualitatively new sphere where many of the attributes a star is to care about are meaningless (fashion, style, trendiness). As a result, some of the celebrity diplomats decide against the continuation of their volunteering and some remain stuck within the frames of their celebrity roles that limit their power and influence as the ambassadors.
In conclusion, it would not be honest to disregard the celebrity diplomats completely. First of all, many are quite successful in their alternative roles due to their fame gained as the entertainers. Secondly, no effort to make this world a better and fairer place should be neglected.
At the same time, the obvious lack of the professional diplomatic knowledge and skills may lead to the situations similar to the one that occurred in 2006, when Harry Belafonte called George Bush “the greatest terrorist in the world” while speaking as the goodwill ambassador for Unicef (Valley 2). Therefore, celebrities can bring benefits as well as difficulties functioning as diplomats. Their effort should not be disregarded, but it has to be seen as the representation of the voice of the private citizens but not nations.
Valley, Paul. From A-lister to Aid worker: Does celebrity diplomacy really work? 2009. Web.