Carne Ross: An Independent Diplomat

As a student of International Relations, this video from ted.com inspired me a lot. Here is the story of a former diplomat. After 15 years in the British diplomatic corps, Carne Ross became a “freelance diplomat,” running a bold nonprofit that gives small, developing and yet-unrecognized nations a voice in international relations. At the BIF-5 conference, he calls for a new kind of diplomacy that gives voice to small countries, that works with changing boundaries and that welcomes innovation.

Why you should listen? Carne Ross was a member of the British diplomat corps for a decade and a half — until a crisis of faith in the system drove him to go freelance. With his nonprofit, Independent Diplomat , he and a team advise small and developing nations without a diplomatic corps, as well as unrecognized nations that would otherwise lack a voice in negotiations on their own futures. His group helped advise the Kosovars in their quest for recognition as a nation, and with Croatia on its application to join the EU. They’re now working with Southern Sudan as it approaches a vote to separate (a vote that, on Sept. 8, 2010, US Secretary of State Clinton called “inevitable”).

As Ross said to Time magazine, when it profiled him in a 2008 story called “Innovators/Peacemakers”: “Our work is based on the belief that everybody has a right to some say in the resolution of their issues.” He’s the author of the 2007 book Independent Diplomat: Dispatches from an Unaccountable Elite.

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