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International Business Diplomacy Workshop

On 14 October 2019 the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) convened a one-day International Business Diplomacy workshop, which was held under the auspices of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy.

In a world where multinational companies are increasingly powerful players, the role of the diplomat is changing. In response to what some consider a power shift favoring the corporate sector, companies see themselves in diplomatic roles and the diplomats in government need to be familiar with the “language” of business.

More questions after the closure of the one-day workshop on Business Diplomacy at ISGA.


The workshop focused on close-to-reality but fictional business cases in new markets and crisis situations that required company action and collaboration with embassies and the foreign ministry. Two former practitioners, Erik Elgersma, a corporate strategy adviser with 25 years of business development and corporate strategy experience at AkzoNobel and Royal FrieslandCampina, led the workshop, together with Martina Smedberg, a former Swedish diplomat, international spokesperson for Ikea and researcher at Lund University, played an important part in the workshop.

André Driessen, Director International Enterprise at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, discussed governmental support for firms operating abroad and, inter alia, how ethical considerations play out in diverse commercial diplomacy scenarios. Jan Melissen, Senior Fellow at ISGA, hosted this extracurricular event, and signaled how a better understanding of corporate geopolitical strategy and proactive networking are part of diplomatic practice today.

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy (HJD), with its main editorial office at ISGA, keeps a close eye on these and other innovations in diplomacy

The journal publishes on the theory, practice, processes and outcomes of diplomacy in both its traditional forms, as well as contemporary diplomatic expressions practiced by states and non-state entities. Each issue aims at a balance between theoretical and empirical studies. Diplomatic studies is an inter-disciplinary field. A central aim of HJD is to present work from a variety of intellectual traditions and the journal is receptive to a wide array of methodologies.

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