Dr. Lord James Godfred Owusu, Kingdom of New Atlantis in Ghana



1. DIPLOMATIC TITLES AND RANKS, In this section, we are going to go over the classification of the different diplomatic titles and ranks. Learning the meaning and relationships between these will help you not only gain an understanding of the different roles diplomats have but also you will know which formula of address should use and what is the order of precedence.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is the document that codifies the rules of international law in terms of diplomatic intercourse, privileges, and immunities. Adopted by the United Nations Conference on Diplomatic intercourse and Immunities in 1961,it is the first international document to codify any aspect of diplomatic law. It simplified a lot of the complex rules established at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

According to the Vienna Convention, the most important rank is that of a head of mission. Head of the mission is the person who is charged by the sending state with the duty of action in that capacity.

Article 14 of the Convention classifies the head of mission into 3 categories:

1. Ambassadors or nuncios accredited to Heads of State, and other heads of mission of equivalent rank.

2. Envoys, ministers and internuncios accredited to Head of State.

3. Charge d’affaires accredited to Ministers for Foreign Affairs.

An Ambassador is a ranking diplomatic representative of a country to another country to which he/she is appointed. The Ambassador is the chief of a diplomatic mission and represents his/her head of state in the hosting country. In order words, an Ambassador is representing the President of his/her own country abroad and has full powers to operate as such.

Sometimes, a diplomatic mission will not be headed by an Ambassador, due to various circumstances, time in which a Charge d’affaires a.i (ad interim), which is usually a senior officer will be the one taking charge for the interval when the Ambassador is absent from his/her post or when the position is vacant.

While a diplomatic mission or simple called an embassy, is headed by an Ambassador or a charge d’affaires. There are other lower ranks that make up the rest of the members of the staff of the mission.

So let’s explore them by looking at the diplomatic hierarchy. Attache- This diplomatic rank is also Sometimes given to non- diplomatic staff who are temporarily assigned to serve at diplomatic mission in order to carry out specific tasks.

By Ambassador Dr. Lord James Godfred Owusu, Kingdom of New Atlantis in Ghana.

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