Hosting international visitors, protocol and the hiearchy of diplomats

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Hosting international visitors, protocol and the hiearchy of diplomats

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Protocol makes the job of representing our nation easier by making easier our work as a mission team, making our relationships and interactions within the diplomatic and host country communities more predictable.

Protocol comes from the Greek meaning “the first glue”. Protocol can be seen as the glue which holds official life together and makes it work. It takes only some very simple steps to ensure that you “do the right thing” when it comes to hosting international visitors.

You must properly prepare for your guests. You must know your guests titles and ranks, so that you can greet them properly and make sure they are seated according to their rank or position for a meeting or meal.

It´s good to know what your guests hope to accomplish with the meeting, and how their agenda may differ from your agenda or your supervisor´s. Having the agenda for the meeting written out, accompanied by a list of all participants in the meeting, is a good idea.

Make sure you have all materials for the meeting prepared and in sufficient quality and quantity for all of your guests!

However, try not to load your international visitors down with paper, unless you can offer to ship it to your guests country. Be aware of any cultural differences, including issues such as dress or diet. Determine before your guests arrive if a gift is necessary or appropriate. If you are unsure, it is acceptable to ask your visitor´s staff in advance of the trip if they will be bringing any gifts, noting that if so, you (or your supervisor) would simply like to be able to reciprocate appropriately. If the gift is more than a small token, you should offer to ship it to your guests final destination. Also if your international visitors are not proficient in English, find out if a translator will accompany them, or if your agency will need to provide a translator to ensure that the meeting is successful.


Diplomatic ranks can be different and strange. Not all positions exist in every embassy. To the diplomatic ranks belong for instance:.

  • Ambassador Ectraordinary and Plenipotentiary

  • Minister Plenipotentiary

  • Ministers

  • Chargé d´Affaires ad hoc or pro tempore

  • Chargé d´ Affaires and interim

  • Army, naval and air Attachés

  • Civilian Attachés not in the Foreign Service

  • First Secretaries

  • Assistant Army

  • Civilian Asssistant Attachés not in the Foreign Service

  • Third Secretaries and Assistant attachés

Outside the normal formal international diplomatic culture, there is an another circle of manners at home and private meeting of host country citizen. Remember that as a guest, one is expected to respect the hosts cultural. Culture of course, is unique to each country.

“the first glue” – “první lepidlo”
acceptable – přípustné
accomplish - dosáhnout
ad hoc – pro tento případ, za tímto účelem, účelově
appropriate - příslušný
appropriately – vhodně
be aware of – být si vědom, uvědomit si
civilian – civilní
differ – lišit se
ensure – ujistit se
for instance – na příklad
Foreign Service – diplomatická služba, zahraniční služba
greet - pozdravit
hold – držet pohromadě, stmelovat
Interim – prozatimní
load down – naložit, složit, otrávit
make it work – nechat něco fungovat, napomáhá životaschopnosti
manners – zvyky, mrav, společenské chování
plenipotentiary – zmocněnec
predictable – předvídatelný
pro tempore – dočasný, prozatimní
proficient – zdatný
properly – důkladně, náležit, pečlivě
rank – hodnost
reciprocate - oplatit
ship – odeslat
sufficient – dostačující
title - titul
token – upomínka, upomínkový předmět, dar
unless – jesliže ne, pokud ne, kromě, mimo, ledaže by, když ne
unsure - nejistý
within – do, v, na, během, uvnitř

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