Scholars, former practitioners and students will come together at this event to learn and contribute to discussions on diplomacy and network with experienced Canadian diplomats.

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SFU conference examines what a career in diplomacy looks like on Dec 5

December 01, 2016
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By Justin Wong

Are you interested in learning about what a career in contemporary Canadian diplomacy looks like?

You can find out on December 5 when Simon Fraser University hosts Frontline Diplomacy Today, at SFU Harbour Centre. Scholars, former practitioners and students will come together at this event to learn and contribute to discussions on diplomacy and network with experienced Canadian diplomats.

SFU political science professor Jérémie Cornut, who recently began his tenure at SFU and is the event’s main organizer, says that students will walk away from the conference with a better understanding of the work performed by Canadian diplomats, their career paths and the role Canadian embassies plays in world politics.

Cornut was kind enough to sit down with SFU News recently to share some insights on a career in diplomacy:

Q: What exactly is “frontline diplomacy”?

Cornut: Frontline diplomats essentially serve as the eyes, ears, and hands of their country in foreign postings. More specifically, they connect with civil societies, negotiate and mediate on the ground, promote investment and trade across a wide spectrum of areas, provide emergency assistance to distressed travelers, and manage consular issues. The upcoming conference will feature prominent international and Canadian scholars as well as top-level former Canadian diplomats to discuss this career path in more detail.

Q: What types of impact can a person make as a diplomat?

Cornut: Globalization and complex interdependence make international politics a central issue for any country in the world. There have never been as many opportunities for international exchanges and collaborations. Historically, foreign military interventions have created chaos and are less and less seen as a solution to complex international problems. All these phenomena enhance the need for diplomats with expanding roles.

Q: What do you recommend for students considering a career in diplomacy?

Cornut: A future frontline diplomat will be an “expeditionary diplomat” who breaks free from the isolation of working behind embassy walls, is autonomous while maintaining a close relationship with headquarters, speaks the language of the country, and monitors social media.  These are the key skills that will be increasingly looked for in new hires by the Canadian government.

Students interested in this field will need to know both Canada’s official languages, English and French. At SFU, The French Cohort Program (FCP) in Public Administration and Community Services, where I teach, offers the opportunity to study in Canada’s two official languages, but primarily in French.

Event Details:

What:  Frontline Diplomacy Today
Where: SFU Harbour Centre (2200 RBC Dominion Securities Executive room)
When: December 5, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Cost: This event is free, but requires you to RSVP