Are cross cultural and cultural awareness an enabler or a showstopper for protocol?

Are cross cultural and cultural awareness an enabler or a showstopper for protocol?
by José Paulo Lucena
Protocol Expert

1. Introduction

With this article, we would like to have the question: Are cross-cultural and cultural awareness an enabler or a showstopper for protocol? answered.

It is our assumption that there are several approaches for this question, since protocol might have different interpretations. We decided to go forward with the most consensual line of action. Meaning, we will state the most agreed meaning of each concepts: Protocol, Cross-cultural and Cultural Awareness.

Then, we will try to answer the posed question.

My experience, as protocol practitioner, would say that cross-cultural and cultural awareness are definitely an enabler for protocol. However, this might not be true in certain circumstances, taking in account some recent state visits that came to public.

2. Background and definitions

Protocol has origin on the Greek word protókollom, which means the first (protó) sheet of paper covering and identifying a set of registries of the consequent documents and kollom glue, as put together. The concept has developed as the description of how the public documents (later diplomatic) should be written as well as the way they should be signed. Later, with French influence, the bureau du protocole, was in charge for preparing the diplomatic documents to be signed by high dignitaries then, which followed a pre-determined ceremonial. (Bouza Serrano, 2011).

For several authors, the Protocol and Ceremonial was born with the aforementioned approach. Meaning that Protocol are the rules and the Ceremonial the way rules are applied.

We can, as well as, refer to protocol and Ceremonial as a ….

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