In international politics, protocol is the etiquette of diplomacy and affairs of state. It may also refer to an international agreement that supplements or amends a treaty. Diplomatic protocol dictates how politicians and representatives of various nations should behave during their official interactions, as a means to promote civility and convey their respect. Specific rules of protocol may differ somewhat depending on the nation or culture; however, there are certain acts, such as referring to a leader by a formal title, which are universally understood to be part of maintaining good international relations. A protocol is a rule which guides how an activity should be performed, especially in the field of diplomacy. In diplomatic services and governmental fields of endeavor protocols are often unwritten guidelines. Protocols specify the proper and generally-accepted behavior in matters of state and diplomacy, such as showing appropriate respect to a head of state, ranking diplomats in chronological order of their accreditation at court, and so on. One definition is: Protocol is commonly described as a set of international courtesy rules. These well-established and time-honored rules have made it easier for nations and people to live and work together. Part of protocol has always been the acknowledgment of the hierarchical standing of all present. Protocol rules are based on the principles of civility.—Dr. P.M. Forni on behalf of the International Association of Protocol Consultants and Officers. There are two meanings of the word protocol. In the legal sense, it is defined as an international agreement that supplements or amends a treaty. In the diplomatic sense, the term refers to the set of rules, procedures, conventions and ceremonies that relate to relations between states. In general, protocol represents the recognized and generally accepted system of international courtesy. The term protocol is derived from the Greek word protokollan (first glue). This comes from the act of gluing a sheet of paper to the front of a document to preserve it when it was sealed, which imparted additional authenticity to it. In the beginning, the term protocol related to the various forms of interaction observed in official correspondence between states, which were often elaborate in nature. In course of time, however, it has come to cover a much wider range of international relations. There are various written and unwritten rules of diplomatic protocol, ranging from performing proper greetings, like shaking hands or bowing at formal meetings, to making sure that seating arrangements reflect the official hierarchy at social gatherings. Some other examples of diplomatic etiquette include ensuring that a nation's flag is properly presented and handled, and that correct names, pronunciations, and titles are always used. For example: * Calling cards: a married women must never leave a card on a man. * How to seat dinner guests: If you place official guests wrongly they may protest officially the next day, or even leave your house after the soup. *
Dress: In England a women is never formally dressed for daytime functions outside her own home unless she is wearing a hat and gloves…women officers would be well advised to keep a hat and glove in the office for such emergencies. In 1965 of course there was no advice on tools of modern diplomacy such as mobile phones, websites and other digital media. And some cultural changes of the past 40 years stand out. The authors do not, for example, contemplate the possibility that British diplomats might have husbands or partners rather than wives. But some of the practical advice still holds good. For example we are still reminded to arrive at a new post with a large supply of passport photos and a black tie or equivalent. And other common sense remarks, delivered with characteristic good humour, still hold good. Humour: ‘Beware the temptations of wit and the dangers of humour....
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