Jérôme Bonnafont

Diplomats: What We Do Publication date : September 7, 2022

Jérôme Bonnafont attended France’s prestigious École Nationale d’Administration before starting a career in diplomacy and civil service. He served as France’s ambassador to India and Spain and held important posts within the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has been a presidential spokesman, chief of staff for Minister of Foreign Affairs Allain Juppé and an advisor to Prime Minister Édouard Philippe in 2020. He is currently France’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

What exactly do diplomats do, and what is their purpose? While many diplomats have written books – writing being a part of the job and a passion for many – rarely have they explored the work itself. Jérôme Bonnafont paints a portrait of diplomacy in all its glamor and humility, reveals how embassies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs function, and examines the diplomat’s role in relations among States and with various non-State entities on the international scene.
This elegantly written book serves not only as a handbook for aspiring diplomats (How should you behave when meeting a dictator? How do you choose and control your communication style?) but also as a treatise on negotiation. Bonnafont takes the reader on a tour of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and, to varying degrees, selected international organizations, including the UN), explains the Ministry’s organization and practices, and dips into the history of international relations and French foreign policy. There are also valuable reflections on European integration. We meet many significant and remarkable diplomats, past and present, who have embodied the role – from Talleyrand to Kissinger, Lavrov and Albright – in a personal touch that makes the book all the more engrossing.
This fascinating peek behind the scenes of international diplomacy is an illustration and defense of a particular type of public service – one that defends and upholds the State, which in turn serves the nation.