„The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Diplomacy – Wie Diplomatie die Welt erklärt“

2. November 2023 18:00

Leigh Turner

What is a diplomat? Can we apply lessons from diplomacy to life in general – from careers to family life, business, politics, decisions on stopping work, prioritising friendship or burying dead bodies? How much of diplomacy is as glamorous as a royal visit, or as dramatic as a coup d’état in Turkey? This book, published in German by Czernin Verlag, Vienna in 2023 and to be published in English by Bristol University Press in 2024, explores the real thing.

The book is in four parts. The first, “A diplomatic career”, sketches Leigh’s experience of the 42 years from 1979-2021, to provide context for what follows. Part 2, “Diplomatic Lessons”, looks at remarkable people; how to be a diplomat; how to be an ambassador; how diplomacy works; the 20th and 21st centuries (“Events, dear boy, events”); Russia, Ukraine and the Former Soviet Union; Russia’s war on Ukraine; how to tackle a changing world; politics; and Brexit. Part 3, “Life Lessons”, explores life-long learning and diplomatic judgement. Part 4 summarises Leigh’s top tips for diplomats and ambassadors.

This is not a standard manual on diplomacy. If you are looking for an explanation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the challenges of the Middle East Peace Process or the theory of diplomatic etiquette, please look elsewhere. But if you seek concrete examples of how diplomats really work with spies; how immunity allows killers to escape justice; how Russia broke up the Soviet Union then nursed its resentment at the consequences; or how to be a good diplomat, or ambassador – read on.

The event will be held in English and chaired by Dr Rupert Graf Strachwitz, Vice Chairman, Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft.

Please join the event by using this link: (No prior registration required!)

Leigh Turner is a writer and former British ambassador to Ukraine and Austria. He grew up in Nigeria, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester, England and attended Cambridge University.
In 1979, Leigh hitch-hiked through 27 states of the continental US. His diplomatic career took him to Vienna, Moscow, Kyiv, Berlin, Hong Kong, Vladivostok, Miami, St Helena, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Bermuda, Samarkand, Istanbul and Las Vegas. Leigh’s postings included a year as a civilian at the headquarters of the British Northern Army Group in Rheindahlen, Germany, 1980-81; a posting as first secretary (Economic) in Moscow, 1992-95; as Counsellor (EU and Economic) in Berlin, 1998-2002; as Ambassador in Kyiv, 2008-2012; and as Ambassador in Vienna, 2016-21.
In Berlin, Leigh took four years off diplomacy to look after his two children and became a travel writer for “The Financial Times”. You can find the results at his rleighturner.com blog. His books include the Berlin thriller Blood Summit, his satirical thriller Eternal Life; his darkly comic Seven Hotel Stories; and the Istanbul thriller Palladium. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Diplomacy, „the most entertaining diplomatic manual ever“, is his latest book.