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"Attention is drawn to the particularly competitive nature found in diplomatic culture. It begins with attempts to enter the foreign ministry and there an emphasis is placed on how difficult it is to be chosen for one of a few jobs. There is a feeling of elitism within the profession that starts in these early stages and is by no means subdued upon entry into the ministry. The vast majority of diplomats strive for not only positioning within an embassy, but eventual appointment to Ambassador. It then progresses into competition as to who has the ‘ear of the Minister’ (i.e. influence over the Minister of Foreign Affairs) as well posting locations. The difference between being sent to a small African country and NATO, the UN, Washington or Brussels is immense."
Source: The Hidden Culture of Diplomat Practice: A Study of the Danish Foreign Service - Mette Boritz –via