Diplomacy is rapidly transforming in the 21st Century with an increasing range of diplomatic actors vying for space on the international stage. At the same time, conventional forums of negotiation such as UN bodies remain highly important, particularly for exerting multilateral pressure on states that disregard human rights obligations. Often the UN provides the only relatively safe political space to publicly voice concern and push for positive change. However, anecdotal evidence suggests an escalation of 'bullying' tactics at the UN by various member states to silence and exclude minority communities who have human rights grievances against them.

This programme of knowledge exchange activities will gather evidence of such tactics and bring key stakeholders together to think about ways that 'diplomats' from marginalised communities can gain access to international forums and Foreign Ministries, present their cases in the most effective way and, ultimately, circumvent such states' tactics and get their voices heard.

There is considerable experience and skill amongst some in the 'unrecognised' diplomatic corps given the protracted nature of many ethnic and territorial disputes. However, at present, there are few mechanisms through which their knowledge can be shared and exchanged with representatives of communities which, due to financial, human resource and political restrictions, do not have much advocacy experience at the UN. This programme seeks to build capacity through activities and outputs co-designed and co-delivered with representatives of minority communities and organisations which promote their cases in the international arena.

This programme of knowledge exchange activities is co-ordinated by Dr Fiona McConnell at the University of Oxford and run in conjunction with Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and Tibet Justice Center (TJC). It is funded by the University of Oxford's ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, 2015-2016.

Programme Aims

  1. Make diplomats and UN officials aware of challenges that unrepresented nations face in accessing and lobbying the UN, and offer concrete suggestions for mitigating these restrictions.
  2. Build the capacity of unrepresented diplomats to present their case in international forums and effect positive change.

Programme Activities

Programme activities include:

Survey of diplomats from unrepresented nations' experiences of lobbying at the UN


Skill Sharing Workshop 1: Gaining access to international forums


Skill Sharing Workshop 2: Lobbying and advocacy strategies


Skill Sharing Workshop 3: Performing as a diplomat


Train the Trainer Workshop


Side event and lobbying at UN Forum on Minority Issues