City Diplomacy : A case study of Velsen’s activities in Galle, Sri Lanka

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City diplomacy is all activities undertaken by local governments for their counterparts in other regions in the world aimed at creating peace and development. It started with city‐to‐city programs aimed at reconciliation after the Second World War. Around the 1970s it developed into a practice of influencing public opinion and national policy on international political matters. From the 1980s on, feelings of solidarity with (post‐)conflict regions led to development cooperation by local governments.   Personal engagement and feelings of solidarity with particular parts of the world and international politics in general, combined with some self‐interest, are reasons for getting involved in city diplomacy. It starts with some influential individuals who gather a group of motivated others around them. Such a group may consist of civil servants, local councillors, civil society members and consultants.   The city diplomacy coalition has many options to choose from. Lobbying and dialogue activities are possibilities but development cooperation is the most common form of city diplomacy by Northern European countries.   Regardless of the chosen form of city diplomacy, some conditions should be met for city diplomacy to be successful. There are in the first place some practical conditions, such as flexibility, sufficient knowledge of the situation and sustainable cooperation with civil society and NGOs. Additionally, there are some political conditions such as long‐term commitment, impartiality and finding key figures.   The research is an attempt to map the practice of developmental city diplomacy and to compare the outcomes with theoretical and scientific views on city diplomacy in the field of development. The case study concentrates on the activities of a Dutch local government (the municipality of Velsen) and its connected NGO (SOS Velsen) in the partner city abroad (Galle, Sri Lanka).   The central question of the research is: How does the case Velsen – Galle compare to the theory of city diplomacy? The answer to this question reveals the lessons learned from practice and the theoretical aspects which need further research. 
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen