They will have worked hard to understand the motives, thought patterns and culture of the other side. The diplomat should be an excellent negotiator but, above all, a catalyst for peace and understanding between people.
The diplomat's principal role is to foster peaceful relations between states. This role takes on heightened importance if war breaks out. Negotiation must necessarily continue — but within significantly altered contexts. Most career diplomats have university degrees in international relations , political science , economics , or law.
Diplomats have generally been considered members of an exclusive and prestigious profession. The public image of diplomats has been described as "a caricature of pinstriped men gliding their way around a never-ending global cocktail party".
Burton has noted that "despite the absence of any specific professional training, diplomacy has a high professional status, due perhaps to a degree of secrecy and mystery that its practitioners self-consciously promote. The high regard for diplomats is also due to most countries' conspicuous selection of diplomats, with regard to their professionalism and ability to behave according to a certain etiquette , in order to effectively promote their interests. Also, international law grants diplomats extensive privileges and immunities , which further distinguishes the diplomat from the status of an ordinary citizen.