Close up of the cover of the French version of An Experts' Guide to International Protocol
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Close up of the cover of the French version of An Experts' Guide to International Protocol

Language No 5: the journey of An Experts’ Guide to International Protocol

In the spring of 2001, a long-lasting collaboration began between Gilbert Monod de Froideville and myself. It was at the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, where Gilbert was responsible for the overall programme as Master of Ceremonies and I assisted him, along with many other ushers in the Grote Kerk in The Hague. Shared involvement in several other royal events followed over the years, and after my graduation in Sydney in 2005, I started working as a right-hand to Gilbert at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. Gilbert retired a year and a half later and had the privilege of working in the Middle East as consultant and trainer for a royal court, an experience that provided him with valuable insights into the Middle Eastern culture. I joined him there in 2008, and it was then that the initial plans arose to write a book together, but it still took a couple of years before actually deciding to give it a try. In March 2014, on the eve of the start of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Gilbert was one of Eva Jinek’s guests on the Dutch talkshow Jinek to elaborate on the many protocol aspects related to such a high-level conference with world leaders attending from around the globe. After the programme she mentioned that Gilbert should consider writing a book and that was the trigger for a brainstorm with me about what such a book should cover.

We soon agreed that the book should give an overview of the implementation of protocol as practiced around the world, since every organisation and government is dealing with aspects of international protocol as an instrument of relationship management. In this respect, we talked about the importance of diplomatic hospitality in international relations and international business, seen from a protocol perspective. And although modern life grows increasingly casual, in many sectors, protocol still reigns supreme. The book therefore offers an overview of its associated practices, including those found within the context of diplomatic relations and the business world. Focusing on a wide range of countries and cultures, the book covers topics like precedence, seating arrangements, the history and use of flags, ceremonies, invitations, dress codes, gifts, and decorations. Media and security aspects, instructions for the protocol officer, guest engagement, and the role of the host in strategic networking are also covered. To make it a true experts’ guide, we have asked numerous influential diplomatic, business, and cultural figures to share their own experiences with protocols around the world.

We are grateful that Amsterdam University Press shared our enthusiasm, and we are delighted that the book was published in April 2016, exactly two years after the brainstorm and fifteen years after our first encounter. We are grateful as well that the fourth edition, which appeared in April 2021, contains an extra chapter on the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic with contributions from professionals in over 25 cities around the world ranging from Accra, Beijing, Dubai, and Geneva to Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, and Washington, D.C. After this first heavily affected year by COVID-19, a multitude of personal examples, struggles, creative solutions, and lessons learned related to protocol, high-level event management, and stakeholder engagement were shared. Whether the experiences came from a national chief of protocol, a chef de cabinet of an international organisation, a CEO of a renowned hotel chain, a board member of a large protocol association, a seasoned business consultant, an associate professor at a leading university, or a youthful trainee at a diplomatic mission, they all provided valuable insights into how their organisations arranged effective pivots to keep their network in shape in that unprecedented period.

We proudly look back on the years since the book was initially published, since we received several requests for translated editions. It has been published in Spanish in collaboration with the Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid in September 2019, followed by Mandarin in collaboration with the National Administration Press in Beijing in June 2020, as well as in Arabic in collaboration with 3zProtocol, a Riyadh-based protocol institute, and Madarek Publishing House, and was launched in March 2022 at the World Expo in Dubai.

In collaboration with Amsterdam University Press, we are now finalizing the manuscript in French. I am very glad to add two additional contributions on multilateral and military protocol to the publication, written by my fellow partners at Protocol International: Csilla Würtz and Maryse Larché Mele. In the upcoming months, the proof reading, editing, designing, and printing will take place, and we are aiming to launch the book in October in The Hague and Paris. Nous ne pouvons pas attendre!  

I am extremely grateful for the tremendous contributions and support of all our diplomatic relations, business partners, experts, publishers, translators, friends, relatives, and family members throughout this entire journey. Due to all their individual expertise, tireless assistance, perseverance and/or critical advice, the book has received its truly enhanced and international look and feel in five of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Thank you very much!

¡Muchas gracias!


شكراً جزيلاً!

Merci beaucoup!

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