Ambassador – definition and meaning
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a country. Ambassadors are the chief officers of embassies, which governments place in the capitals of foreign countries. Ambassadors do not only exist in embassies, but also in business, finance, charities, and other organizations.
The term may also refer to a person who represents an activity, company, or organization. Famous trumpeter Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was one of jazz’ most popular ambassadors.
Charities and advocate groups have ambassadors – we call them special envoys. Special envoys spearhead their movement. The actress Angelina Jolie Pitt was a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador from 2001 to 2012. UNHCR stands for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
A good ambassador needs to be trustworthy. Schools, countries, or companies need to know that what they share with the ambassador is not shared indiscriminately. Above all, steadfast ambassadors always stay loyal to their employer. Even when ambassadors do not agree with their instructions, they must remain loyal.
Companies or organizations hire brand ambassadors to represent a brand in a positive light. The brand ambassador’s aim is to increase brand awareness and ultimately sales. We also call them corporate ambassadors.
Brand ambassadors should ideally embody the corporate identity in values, ethics, demeanor, and appearance.
Additionally, a brand ambassador can help jump-start a business by enhancing brand awareness. With the ambassador, the company has the potential for a much broader reach.
When hiring influential people, you must be completely sure that they know the particular brand well. In fact, they should know the brand almost as well as the company does.
The website Entrepreneur makes the following comment regarding brand ambassadors:
“Your brand ambassador has to be passionate about the brand and able to connect with customers, especially Millennials, on a somewhat personal level.” (Millennials are people born from the early 1980s up to the middle of the 1990s.)
Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prime Minister Tony Blair had discussed a special role. In 1997, Blair was considering a special ‘Ambassador for Britain’ position for the Princess. Unfortunately, just a few weeks later, she died in a car crash in Paris. Blair regarded her as a potential standard bearer for the UK of unparalleled ability. (Image: biography.com)
Unlike a celebrity spokesperson, a brand ambassador is somebody who eats, lives, and breathes the brand. He or she is a person with whom customers can connect and engage. Furthermore, brand ambassadors have a well-established, solid presence and a sizable network.
Governments often have special ambassadors to promote businesses. In 2008, the UK Government created a Business Ambassadors Group aimed at helping SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
When traveling abroad, UK Business Ambassadors carry out priority meetings at the Government’s request. Business ambassadors lead events and lobby for market access for SMEs. They also undertake dedicated overseas visits or lead UK trade missions for small businesses.
“The Business Ambassadors offer a wealth of business experience and knowledge gained across a range of sectors and geographical markets.”
Ambassador – a diplomat
Ambassadors are individuals from a particular country who represent their country abroad. This representation may occur either in one-on-one government settings or international meetings.
The ambassador should be an expert on foreign policy – a top diplomat. Governments carefully select this person so that they can provide the best representation possible. Above all, they must maintain good relations with the other nation.
Ambassadorships are among the highest positions in the diplomatic services. In the diplomatic service, only the Foreign Minister is a more senior position. In the US, this is the Secretary of State; and the Foreign Secretary in the UK.
The ambassador frequently has meetings with representatives of several different countries. He or she is the single person that a country’s government has chosen to represent it in these meetings. In other words, they are the face of the country.
World-famous American professional tennis player, Venus Williams, once said: “Unfortunately the world is what it is now. People don’t get along for whatever reason. As professional athletes, in a way, we’re almost ambassadors for peace because sports brings everyone together.” (Image: twitter.com/Venuseswilliams)
The USA, UK, Germany, France, Japan, and other major economies have one ambassador in each country in the world.
Many smaller nations do not have ambassadors in every country. Along with several emerging economies, they share services with another country.
According to eDiplomat, an ambassador is:
“The chief of a diplomatic mission; the ranking official diplomatic representative of his country to the country to which he is accredited, and the personal representative of his own head of state to the head of state of the host country.”
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, made the following comment regarding his organization’s ambassadors: “Our Goodwill Ambassadors, who work directly with the UN agencies, are dedicated and well-informed and credible advocates on behalf of the United Nations. They help us educate audiences worldwide and rally support on key issues of the United Nations.” (Image: Wikipedia)
A Deputy Chief of Mission, Foreign Service Officers, and Specialists who carry out a full range of mission activities support the US ambassador. Additionally, other US agencies including the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Justice, and Agriculture, as well as USAID provide support.
The personnel of all these US Government agencies report to the ambassador.
The Consul General, who heads a Consulate, reports to the Ambassador. Consul Generals carry out many of the functions in provincial capitals that ambassadors do in national capitals.
Apart from issuing visas and assisting American citizens abroad, embassy personnel interacts with host governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. They also interact with educational institutions, the media, and private citizens.
The aim of the ambassador is to create positive responses to the US in general and the country’s policy.
“The ambassador’s residence, which is used for many diplomatic and public functions, is sometimes located on the embassy compound but more often elsewhere in the city. As the public face of the United States of America in the host country, the chancery is usually architecturally impressive—either a historic building or a striking newer structure.”
Video – Life of an American Ambassador
This Pace University video covers the life of the American Ambassador to The Netherlands – Fay Hartog Levin. The documentary was filmed by Pace University students in 2010.