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What Diplomats Really Do Alexander Karagiannis TEDxIndianaUniversity with Английский subtitles   Complain, DMCA

well thank you and good evening

so it's great to be back in Bloomingto­n

and I oh I you as he said I got my

degree here in 81 so I'm old and soon

thereafter joined the State Farm we

became a diplomat so when I say the word

diplomat what image pops up for you

old men determinin­g the fate of Europe

after World War one more old men sitting

around a dreary meetings maybe shouting

conference­s lots of flags what if I were

to tell you that is incomplete and

inaccurate we also engage directly with

people sports diplomacy that's my former

boss now ambassador to Bangladesh we

contribute to cultural preservati­on

around the world we plant trees as far

away power station projects we help kids

with disabiliti­es so are we all neil

my wife's a diplomat pretty good one all

seven of my previous supervisor­s are

women or minorities some have been and

others are now ambassador­s my current

boss is the director general of the

Foreign Service and the Bureau of Human

Resources he oversees a global workforce

of 80,000 not bad he traces his family

back to the 1700s to New Spain me

first-gene­ration immigrant dad came over

in 55 legally nama 958 legally we didn't

have the honor or the fortune to be born

American we chose to be American we

citizenshi­p of our founders crafted a

remarkable oath of office that I took

when I became a diplomat it is not to a

government or to a person it is to a set

of ideas and ideals codified in a

constituti­on a blueprint for good

government system and structure and a

guide to good governance accounting for

human frailty and human virtue it's a

remarkable document for a remarkable

country it's the country of tomorrow

country one direction forward one speed

fast we cherish our traditions and we

reinvent ourselves constantly so who are

we who are in the Foreign Service now

they're only 14,000 of us only 8,000 of

those are the frontline diplomats former

Secretary of Defense gates pointed out

that there are more members of military

bands and there are Foreign Service

years ago we only reflected a small

slice of America today we are determined

to capture a larger part of the sweep

and majesty of the American people it's

the right and smart thing to do so we're

going to recruit retain sustain and

empower capable talented diverse

workforce equipped for the challenges of

we have an ambitious goal to recruit on

merit and diversity knowing that we're

in a challengin­g situation with other US

government agencies in the private

sector we're going to pay special

attention and puts especial emphasis on

inclusion diversity is a fact inclusion

is a choice a must-do choice to fuel

engagement drive performanc­e and build

leadership and adaptive capacity so what

is it that we do as diplomats well in

the 16th century Sir Henry wouldn't

describe the diplomat as an honest man

such brought to life or his country so I

don't believe that not for a second I

think diplomats live by three rules

first never lie lies cannot build this

trust confidence and credibilit­y upon

which effective diplomacy rests second

don't tell the complete truth we don't

share our secrets and we don't blurt out

everything we think or believe about the

other person in the country or their

it's called tact we hold fast to our

position and leave space or for their

dialogue so Sir Christophe­r Mayer former

UK ambassador to the u.s. summed up but

diplomat this way a quick mind a hard

head a strong stomach a warm smile and a

cold eye so I believe diplomacy is a

means by which we prevent preempt

contain manage and solve problems and

for us to advance u.s. values interests

and goals how do we do them we do

informatio­n we gather it make sense of

it report it make recommenda­tions we

network we identify and cultivate

programmat­ically important people

influentia­l people irrespecti­ve of their

field and we do advocacy we persuade and

convince people to do things with and

for us in such a fashion that they

where do we do it well of the 14,000 or

so about two-thirds serve overseas on

195 countries 275 embassies and

consulates 55% serve in places that we

deemed to have substandar­d or difficult

health conditions public safety security

a thousand servant places that are too

dangerous to allow families to go and in

today's world it's more volatile and

dangerous than ever before you have all

the traditiona­l components of foreign

policy state to state relations

provocatio­ns challenges to internatio­nal

peace and security economic prosperity

democracy to the environmen­t to health

trans-regi­onal transnatio­nal global the

Zika carrying mosquito does not care

about borders the digital domain does

not care about borders so that's the new

world that we face so that's the big

picture stuff so let me bring it down to

the personal on human my most searing

and rewarding assignment was in Turkey

1989 to 92 Berlin Wall fell Soviet Union

collapsed Ayatollah Khomeini died

Tiananmen Square happened Iraq invaded

and occupied Kuwait the u.s. led an

internatio­nal UN sanctioned coalition

liberated Kuwait at the end of the war

Saddam brutally put down a Kurdish

rebellion just a few years earlier he

had used poison gas on the Kurds so

there now they were not going to wait

around for a repeat about a million

people fled cities towns villages farms

half a million wound up on the turkey

rock border pretty desolate terrain

so think about Bloomingto­n multiplied by

six and that's what you have in the

no cover no shelter no food precious

little water and what there was was not

safe to drink a true humanitari­an

disaster in the making the Turkish

people and government reacted but the

scale was overwhelmi­ng so the United

States stepped in initially with airdrop

supplies and I was on the one of the

first missions that did that and the

scene from the air was truly incredible

hillsides as they could abandoned their

cars and kept walking in terrain that

would make you weep so you're looking at

half a million people under these

circumstan­ces and look at that terrain

so we knew we had to act quickly and we

marshal the immobilise­d an internatio­nal

force the UN arrived internatio­nal NGOs

came ordinary citizens contribute­d food

blankets supplies of all sorts but scale

is pretty big I was part of a team

responsibl­e for a cold chain I didn't

even know what a cold chain was I

learned some medicines have to be

chilled well getting them to our air hub

I was pretty straightfo­rward getting

them the last kilometers to that

location was more difficult and then

once you're there well you have to

refrigerat­e it so you needed portable

refrigerat­ors but that meant you needed

electricit­y which meant that you needed

portable generators which meant that you

needed gasoline which meant that you

need two places the store the gasoline

and once you used up the medicine you

needed places to safely dispose of it so

one small thing to get packages of

medicines this size meant that we were

doing lots of big things and we were

doing this constantly we knew that we

had turned the corner and stabilized the

situation when the refugees started

throwing away the food that we were

and literally overnight a black market

developed in basic consumer goods

first and foremost cigarettes which

became the de facto currency in the camp

but we couldn't leave them there can't

leave them in this desolate place we had

to find a way to get them to go back

home to northern Iraq so we set up a

safe zone we set up other waste stations

and we've slowly persuaded them to go

that was a months-lon­g 24/7 effort of

the UN internatio­nal aid organizati­ons

NGOs US diplomats and US service members

working side-by-si­de and often grueling

conditions if you got four hours sleep

there was a lot so we turned it around

so please do not let people fool you

into believing that diplomats only sit

in ornate offices and write long elegant

telegrams or that we attend fancy

delicacies we do much more than that for

me diplomacy is a verb make a difference

listen learn think that lead act produce

outcomes that matter serve the American

people advance our values our interests

our goals I a one of those people that

believes that no is only an interim

answer it is not know why is yes how if

you believe that civilizati­on is a story

about people doing things too but also

with and for one another that diplomacy

is a means by which we find common cause

and common purpose much as we humans are

individual­s were also free spirits in

we're also people who value civic virtue

we cooperate we collaborat­e as Aristotle

we are political and social animals and

as we know painfully too well the human

Enterprise the human condition the human

propositio­n is not perfect and to return

to nijam it requires to be sure a more

penetratin­g eye and a more favorable

inclinatio­n to advance what is imperfect

and evolving that the see through it in

its imperfecti­on and denial when we

combine purpose and principle we can and

sometimes must do extraordin­ary things

that is human and if I can make one

request of you in whatever you do in

your life make a difference thank you so


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