What are the general duties of an ambassador?

Written by cynthia gomez
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What are the general duties of an ambassador?
An ambassador must have refined diplomacy skills. (hand shake image by Peter Baxter from Fotolia.com)

Ambassadors can be paid or unpaid, and they can represent a country, a corporation or private organisation. For instance, ambassadors of countries are usually high-ranking diplomats who are appointed and paid for their services. However, ambassadors for non-profit may simply be respected members of the organisation who spread the organisation's message on an unpaid, volunteer basis. Regardless of these differences, an ambassador's main role is to portray his country, corporation or organisation in a positive light.

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Public Relations

An ambassador must strive to maintain a good image of the entity he represents at all times. He must sometimes also respond for the actions of his group. For this reason, he must understand the basics of good public relations and, at times, be willing to answer difficult questions.

Education

One key role for an ambassador is to educate members of the public about her country, corporation or organisation. She can do this through informal, everyday conversations and formal outreach efforts. Many non-profit enlist the help of celebrities to serve as goodwill ambassadors by doing commercials and benefit performances to spread word of their causes. Meanwhile, a country's ambassador spends her time meeting with key individuals, including political leaders, to discuss her country's shared interests.

Diplomacy

An ambassadors is expected to be highly diplomatic, because he must sometimes deal with people and situations with a high potential for conflict. Diplomacy is a key skill for managers of all types. Ambassadors are, in certain ways, managers, noted Wayne E. Neill, the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Benin, in a 2005 speech sponsored by the University of California, Los Angeles African Studies Center. "An effective ambassador is a person who can get an idea of where the country should be going, what the visions are, and then move inter-agency processes forward to serve U.S. interests, to find U.S. interests," Neill said.

Advisory

Just as an ambassador is asked to spread a good image and messages of the body she represents, she is also usually asked to bring back information and insights to the represented entity. For instance, she may explain what the general perceptions of people in her home country. She may also provide suggestions to help shape international policy with the country where she is stationed. Likewise, an ambassador for a corporation may provide advice for better legislative advocacy.

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