Multi-track diplomacy

Multi-track diplomacy

The term multi-track diplomacy is based on the original distinction made by Joseph Montville in 1981 between official, governmental actions to resolve conflicts (track one) and unofficial efforts by non-governmental professionals to resolve conflicts within and between states (track two). Later, Louise Diamond coined the phrase "multi-track diplomacy," recognizing that to lump all track two activities under one label did not capture the complexity or breadth of unofficial diplomacy. Ambassador John W. McDonald then wrote an article expanding track two into four separate tracks: conflict resolution professionals, business, private citizens, and the media. This framework, however, still had the four unofficial tracks operating with the exclusive purpose to affect or change the direction of track one.

In 1991, Diamond and McDonald expanded the number of tracks to nine. They added four new tracks: religion, activism, research, training, and education, and philanthropy, or the funding community. More importantly, however, they reorganized the relationship between the various tracks. Instead of putting track one at the top of the hierarchy, with all the "unofficial" tracks poised to change the direction of track one; they redesigned the diagram and connected the tracks in a circle. No one track is more important than the other, and no one track is independent from the others. They operate together as a system. Each track has its own resources, values, and approach, but since they are all linked, they work more effectively when used together.

The Arlington County, Virginia-based Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy uses a multi-track approach in its work by involving as many different tracks as possible when implementing projects. This way, even when doing social peacebuilding work, we involve people from government, media, or other social institutions which provide a link between the structural peacebuilding and political peacebuilding processes. Just as conflict transformation and peacebuilding are understood in terms of systems change, multi-track diplomacy takes a systems approach to understanding the nature of international peacebuilding.

This systems approach, inherent in the three concepts of conflict transformation (1), peacebuilding (2) and multi-track diplomacy (3), describes (a) what needs to change about a conflict (conflict transformation), (b) how that change is effected (peacebuilding), and (c) the actors involved and the environment in which such change takes place (multi-track diplomacy).


Expanded history of multi-track diplomacy

In 1981, Joseph Montville, then a U.S. State Department employee, coined the phrases Track One and Track Two diplomacy in "Foreign Policy According to Freud," which appeared in Foreign Policy (Montville & Davidson, 1981). Track One diplomacy was what diplomats did—formal negotiations between nations conducted by professional diplomats. Track Two diplomacy referred to conflict resolution efforts by professional non-governmental conflict resolution practitioners and theorists. "Track Two has as its object the reduction or resolution of conflict, within a country or between countries, by lowering the anger or tension or fear that exists, through improved communication and a better understanding of each other’s point of view" (McDonald & Bendahmane, 1987, p. 1).

The efforts of these conflict resolution professionals, generally operating through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities, arose from the realization by diplomats and others that formal official government-to-government interactions were not necessarily the most effective methods for securing international cooperation or resolving differences.

Track two diplomacy is unofficial, non-structured interaction. It is always open minded, often altruistic, and . . . strategically optimistic, based on best case analysis. Its underlying assumption is that actual or potential conflict can be resolved or eased by appealing to common human capabilities to respond to good will and reasonableness. Scientific and cultural exchanges are examples of track two diplomacy. The problem most political liberals fail to recognize is that reasonable and altruistic interaction with foreign countries cannot be an alternative to traditional track one diplomacy, with its official posturing and its underlying threat of the use of force. Both tracks are necessary for psychological reasons and both need each other. (Montville & Davidson, 1981, p. 155)

Montville (Montville & Davidson, 1981) maintains that there are two basic processes in track two diplomacy. The first consists of facilitated workshops that bring members of conflicting groups together to develop personal relationships, understand the conflict from the perspective of others, and develop joint strategies for solving the conflict. The second process involves working to shift public opinion: “Here the task is a psychological one which consists of reducing the sense of victimhood of the parties and rehumanizing the image of the adversary” (McDonald & Bendahmane, 1987, p. 10).

Methods for conducting these activities are still evolving as is the thinking around which individuals—representing various roles and functions in society and government—should be included. Montville points out that “there is no evidence that conflict resolution workshops would work for the principal political leaders themselves—perhaps because they are too tough or even impervious to the humanizing process” (McDonald & Bendahmane, 1987, p. 14). Ambassador McDonald (Sep 2003 - Aug 2004) seconds this assumption but feels that it is merely because the leaders are stuck in rigid roles and politically have less access to fluidity than individuals further removed from the top echelon of government(McDonald, Sep 2003 - Aug 2004).

In 1986 Ambassador John McDonald and Diane Bendahmane (1987) produced Conflict Resolution: Track Two Diplomacy, a book that compiled the thoughts of several Track One and Track Two professionals confirming the need for government to support, encourage, and work with Track Two. The Department of State refused to print the book for eighteen months because the Department has a strong defensiveness regarding its right, ability, and authority to conduct conflict resolution. The book was finally published in 1987 and states that

. . . the official government apparatus for analyzing international security issues and designing foreign policy has to equip itself to support and benefit from track two diplomacy. As part of the process, government analysts must improve their capabilities to understand how history, society, culture, and psychology interact. (Montville & Davidson, 1981, p. 156-7)

At a special briefing for representatives of non-governmental organizations, the U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Director for Political Affairs in the Office of Iraq presented a plea for help from NGOs (Paul Sutphin, 2004). Acting under Secretary Colin Powell’s initiative and authority, the State Department’s Iraqi analysts explained their frustrations in conducting dialogue, developing grassroots relationships, and rebuilding infrastructure. Far from admitting that the State Department was limited in its right, ability, and authority to conduct conflict resolution, they admitted that they couldn’t build relationships or spend money fast enough to rebuild Iraq in time to appease the Iraqis and needed help to do it. This may not be the ideal situation in terms of NGO and State Department cooperation.

“Further Exploration of Track Two Diplomacy” was published in 1991 as an Occasional Paper (McDonald), and as a chapter in Timing the De-Escalation of International Conflicts (Kriesberg & Thorson, 1991). In 1996 Dr. Louise Diamond and Ambassador McDonald published Multi-Track Diplomacy: A Systems Approach to Peace. Since then the model has been more robustly developed and the original second track has been expanded into nine tracks as illustrated in the logo.

The Multi-Track concept is meant to convey the idea that all sectors of society are important and need to be involved, supported, listened to, and trained in a shared language of dialogue, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding in order to prevent or end violent conflict.

Ambassador McDonald and the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy developed the following principles of multi-track diplomacy:

Twelve principles of multi-track diplomacy

  1. Relationship—Building strong interpersonal and intergroup relations throughout the fabric of society.
  2. Long-term commitment—Making an ongoing commitment to people and to processes that may take years to come to fruition.
  3. Cultural synergy—Respecting the cultural wisdom of all the parties and welcoming the creative interaction of different cultural ways.
  4. Partnership—Modeling collaborative process by partnering with local parties and with other institutions and coalitions.
  5. Multiple technologies—Utilizing a variety of technologies, as appropriate, and creating new methods, as needed, to meet the unique needs of each situation.
  6. Facilitation—Assisting parties in taking responsibility for their own dreams and destiny.
  7. Empowerment—Helping people become empowered agents of change and transformation within their societies.
  8. Action research—Learning from all that we do and sharing that learning with others.
  9. Invitation—Entering the system where there is an invitation and an open door.
  10. Trust—Building relationships of mutual trust and caring within the system.
  11. Engagement—Acknowledging that once we enter a system we become a unique part of it -- an engaged, caring, and accountable partner.
  12. Transformation—Catalyzing changes at the deepest level of beliefs, assumptions, and values, as well as behaviors and structures. (Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, 2004)
Multi-Track Diplomacy is essentially a step in the same direction as the evolution of Deep Democracy. While Multi-Track Diplomacy focuses on functional social roles in each of its tracks, Deep Democracy uses concepts and methodologies from Process Oriented Psychology to further extends the discrete tracks to a broad range of roles, psychological figures, and experiences and explores the tensions and chaos that exist between them.

External links


  • Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy. (2004). Principles of Multi-Track Diplomacy. Retrieved 7 Dec 2003 from
  • Kriesberg, L., & Thorson, S. J. (1991). Timing the De-Escalation of International Conflicts (1st ed.). Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
  • McDonald, J. W. (1991). Further Exploration of Track Two Diplomacy. In Kriesberg & Thorson (Eds.), Timing the De-escalation of International Conflicts. Syracuse: Syracuse Press.
  • McDonald, J. W. (Sep 2003 - Aug 2004). Private conversations. Arlington, VA.
  • McDonald, J. W., & Bendahmane, D. R. (1987). Conflict Resolution: Track Two Diplomacy. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
  • Montville, J. V., & Davidson, W. D. (1981). Foreign Policy According to Freud. Foreign Policy, Winter 1981-82, 145-157.
  • Stone, Diane. (2004) ‘Private Authority, Scholarly Legitimacy and Political Credibility: Think Tanks and Informal Diplomacy’, in Timothy J. Sinclair (ed.) Global Governance: Critical Concepts in Political Science. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-27661-6
  • Paul Sutphin. (2004). Deputy Director for Political Affairs, Office of Iraq, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs briefing on: The Transition of Power in Iraq. 29 Jul 2004. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State,.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Multi-track — may refer to: Multitrack recording, the process of mixing individual sound sources to a single recording Multi track diplomacy, a method of conflict resolution Multi track, a process of civil litigation in England and Wales, c.f. fast Track.… …   Wikipedia

  • Institute for Cultural Diplomacy — The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy Type Non profit, NGO Founded 19 …   Wikipedia

  • The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy — Established 1933 Type Private Dean Stephen W. Bosworth …   Wikipedia

  • Diplomatic rank — is the system of professional and social rank used in the world of diplomacy and international relations. Over time it has been formalized on an international basis. Contents 1 Traditional European diplomacy 1.1 Ranks 1.2 Notes …   Wikipedia

  • Irish Peace Institute — The Irish Peace Institute (IPI) was established in 1984 by Dr. Brendan O Regan. The Institute was created in order to promote peace reconciliation on the island of Ireland, and to draw on the experience of conflict resolution in order to learn… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert W. Fuller — (1936 )earned his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University in 1961, and taught [Dignitarian Foundation, Conversation with Robert W. Fuller, 2004 2006,] at Columbia University where he co… …   Wikipedia

  • Cyprus Conflict Resolution Trainers Group — The Cyprus Conflict Resolution Trainers Group (also referred to in the media or literature as CRTG: Conflict Resolution Trainers Group, or simply Trainers’ Group or The Trainers) was founded in 1994 by about 30 Cypriot peace pioneers (15 Greek… …   Wikipedia

  • Korean Air Lines Flight 007 — Flight 007 redirects here. For other uses, see Flight 7 (disambiguation). Korean Air Lines Flight 007 Artist s rendition of HL7442, the KAL 747 lost during Flight 007 Occurrence summary …   Wikipedia

  • china — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. a translucent ceramic material, biscuit fired at a high temperature, its glaze fired at a low temperature. 2. any porcelain ware. 3. plates, cups, saucers, etc., collectively. 4. figurines made of porcelain or ceramic material …   Universalium

  • China — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. People s Republic of, a country in E Asia. 1,221,591,778; 3,691,502 sq. mi. (9,560,990 sq. km). Cap.: Beijing. 2. Republic of. Also called Nationalist China. a republic consisting mainly of the island of Taiwan off the SE coast …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”