Backstage at the United Nations

By Romain Lepla*
“It seems that you’ve got me outnumbered,” says a Diplomat in a hallway of the UN, as 7 members of our delegation approach them, at a location both parties agreed on.  As the day goes by and the various countries meet with us, we begin to see the broad spectrum of the civil servant specimens.
Cross your fingers and hope it’s not too long – the confident diplomat
First, there is the one that is confident in their approach, who has years of experience in the field and burns to take the floor. Once they have started there is no going back and only the bravest will dare cut them in their monologue. A monologue that they have practised and perfected over the years. You will not be able to have the conversation go your way and hence, cross your fingers and hope that the meeting will not last too long.
Did I just make a friend? – the extrovert diplomat
Then comes the social and extrovert diplomat. No one to this day knows if they’re just masters at their jobs or your friend. This type makes you feel the same way you felt after being reunited with an old childhood friend. He or she is frank, honest and kind. It seems that unlike all the others, they are left unaffected by stonewalling and help you out in understanding the situation. They bring up practical points and you’d wish all diplomats were part of this specimen. Nevertheless, they still leave you wondering if you’ve just been the victim of some extremely successful elaborate plan or have made a new friend.
The rare specimen parading around
Sometimes out of pure luck, you will meet a rare specimen. Just like the peacock at the UN, this diplomat comes from a country that has ratified or is in the process of ratifying the ban on nuclear weapons. He or she knows that there is nothing left to do but collect the fruits of their harvest. Hence, like the elegant bird that is the peacock, they can usually be spotted parading around with their feathers out for others to see.
All in all, besides the obviously satirical angle I’ve approached the subject on, meeting the different delegations was a pleasure and honour. It taught me that no diplomat is alike and an attempt to put them in specific boxes would do them no justice. It goes without saying that a multicultural environment makes for  very different types of humans.
* Romain Lepla is student at Leiden University College and one of the 14 students participating in the PAX Nuclear Crash Course.