Wilfried Bolewski

Professor Bolewski to Speak on Diplomacy at Oxford University
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 16:31

Read more...Ambassador Wilfried Bolewski, who teaches the Diplomacy and International Law classes at AGS was invited by Oxford University to give a Public Lecture on "Diplomacy and Crises: A practitioner's insight and outlook" in the Global Governance and Diplomacy Public Speaker Series on February 9, 2015. "I am looking forward to this academic venue to explore new perspectives for the role of Diplomacy as facilitator for Global Governance." says professor Bolewski.

The Global Governance and Diplomacy Public Speaker Series at Oxford University "brings reputable diplomatic practitioners and academic scholars for a two-hour conversation with students and fellows of the MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy. It is designed to allow students and fellows to interact with experienced professionals and to discuss new perspectives on current diplomatic events and global governance challenges." (Oxford University website)

Ambassador Bolewski to Join New Journal Board
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:27

Read more...Ambassador Wilfried Bolewski (Ph.D.), our Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, has been invited by Dr. Corneliu Bjola, from the University of Oxford, to join the board of a new peer-review journal entitled Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, to be published as of Spring 2016. This quarterly journal will provide an open forum for reference publication, critical analysis and cutting-edge research on contemporary issues of diplomacy and foreign policy, promoting creative problem-solving approaches for the management of peaceful change in international and transnational affairs.

The journal primary readership will be composed of diplomatic scholars, international relations analysts, foreign policy decision-makers, international NGO practitioners, graduate and undergraduate students of international affairs, and educators in diplomatic academies.

Along with the Editor Dr. Corneliu Bjola, Associate Professor of Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford, the other Associate Editors Dr. Marcus Holmes, Assistant Professor of Government at The College of William and Mary in Virginia, US, and Dr. Stuart Murray, Senior Lecturer at the Department of International Relations, Bond University, Australia, as well as Jason Prevost, Acquisitions Editor at Brill Nijhoff Publishers, Boston, US, Ambassador Bolewski will work on developing this new journal with an emphasis on theory-practice integration and multidisciplinarity so as to position it with policy-relevant research in the center of conceptual debates that frame the theory, practice, and transformation of 21st Century diplomatic relations.

Ambassador Bolewski Discusses Germany’s Role in Ukraine on BBC
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:09

Read more...AGS Professor Ambassador Wilfried Bolewski was interviewed on BBC Radio 5‘s Up All Night show on May 14th, where he discussed this week’s visit by German Foreign Minister Steinmeier to Kiev in order to assist in mediating the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. As a former German Ambassador and the former Chief of Protocol under Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schröder, Ambassador Bolewski provided his insights into Germany’s increased role as a «middle man» between the opposing sides in Ukraine.

Ambassador Bolewski lauded the current plans for an IMF aid package to prop up the country’s vulnerable economy, praising the international community for efficiently organizing more than US$17 billion in funding and their «bottom-up, participatory approach» to solving the crisis. The loans would notably allow Ukraine to pay the more than US$3.5 billion it owes to state-owned Russian gas company Gazprom, suggesting all nations stand to benefit from the agreement, including Russia.

He also warned that the upcoming elections in Ukraine, currently set for May 25, may not settle the deep-seated issues that the region faces. «The presidential elections could have a more and rather disruptive, opposing, antagonistic, divisive impact on an already destabilized, dysfunctional society,» Ambassador Bolewski cautioned. He called for nations to work together to address the grievances of all groups within the country, and to create «positive inducements, incentives and communication platforms» to foster dialogue between the central government and separatist groups.

According to Ambassador Bolewski, the implementation of the current aid package should be prioritized, which would «create a commonality of interests, a future-orientation for nation-building, which would include the civil society: a real vision for practical problem solving and tangible performance results.»

Ambassador Bolewski Talks On the Geneva 2 Negotiations on Syria
Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:30

Read more...On the occasion of the opening of the Geneva 2 Negotiations on Syria, AGS Professor Ambassador Wilfried Bolewski was invited on the international TV network France 24 to talk about the role of diplomacy in the resolution of the Syrian conflict. Ambassador Bolewski summarizes the points he made during his intervention:

Read more..."International negotiations are composed of the following three phases: "megaphone" diplomacy, shuttle diplomacy, and quiet diplomacy. After the "megaphone" diplomacy with the political declarations of all sides for the gallery of their respective clientele, the mediator Brahimi should move to a shuttle diplomacy to establish personal contacts and dialogue among the parties, building a minimum of confidence in order to address options for sustainable problem-solving solutions and a diversity management.

In the process of change to reach a new status quo acceptable to all, the following principles will have to be acknowledged: ethnic identities as ground for legitimate claims, inclusive participation, self-determination, positive incentives as well as negative sanctions and threats (the prerequisites and therefore the legitimate option of an R2P intervention on humanitarian ground by a coalition of the willing still remains on the table.)

In view of the ethical pluralism in the region (Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Druze and various tribes) and in this identity-based (and not only geopolitical power-based) conflict, there is a need for a broad ethic of tolerance and acceptance of different points of view including the rethinking of the State in the Middle East along ethnic, linguistic and sectarian communities.

In the phase of quiet diplomacy, pluralism (of religions, minorities, gender opportunities, and political parties rotating in power) as well as respect for diversity as an operating system to solve all problems will have to be recognized, since societies renew themselves through diversity.

In order to impose this political mindset, the mediator will have to address the root causes, grievances and unfulfilled expectations of all concerned, rather than the obvious and immediate symptoms only."

Ambassador Bolewski Interviewed by The Paris Globalist on the Syrian Crisis and International Law
Monday, 02 December 2013 10:16

Read more...Ambassador Wilfried Bolewski, professor of Diplomacy and International Law at AGS, participated in an interview with the online international affairs magazine The Paris Globalist (November 26th, 2013), giving his expertise on the ongoing crisis in Syria through the lens of international law.

In his interview, Ambassador Bolewski states that the preconditions for intervention under Responsibility to Protect (R2P) were met, with “more than 100,000 people killed by the Assad Regime in conventional civil strife, 4 million internally displaced, 2 million trans-border refugees and 1,400 people (were) killed through attacks by government activities.” He emphasizes that “the use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity in international customary law” as Syria previously ratified the 1925 Geneva Protocol on the Protection of the use of Chemical Weapons in war and signed the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. As for the success of the proposed Geneva II peace talks, Ambassador Bolewski claims that the negotiations will depend on “a ceasefire, inclusive participation of all regional fractions, protection of minorities and eventually, an out-of-the-box, innovative approach including a rethinking of the State in the Middle East along ethnic, linguistic and sectarian communities.”

Read Ambassador Bolewski's online interview

The Paris Globalist is an online publication managed by students at the Paris-based international affairs school Science Po (Institut d’Etudes Politiques), featuring analyses from experts and professionals aiming to bridge the areas of economics, culture and politics worldwide.

A lawyer by training, Ambassador Wilfried Bolewski worked as a Legal Advisor to CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva before starting a diplomatic career that led him to serve in Italy, Poland, Australia, Cameroon and Pakistan. Dr. Bolewski also served as German Ambassador to Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas, and Deputy Chief of Protocol under Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel’s governments.

Parallel to his diplomatic career, Ambassador Bolewski pursued an academic career, teaching at the Free University in Berlin, at Science Po Paris, at AUP and at the American Graduate School in Paris. His areas of expertise include corporate diplomacy, protocol, international law and the diplomatic decision-making process, political psychology in foreign policy and conflict analysis.

Dr. Bolewski has published widely in German, English and French including Diplomacy and International Law in Globalized Relations (Springer : Berlin-Heidelberg-New York, 2007).  


Ambassador Bolewski Participates in Televised Debate on the Syrian Crisis
Thursday, 12 September 2013 13:32

Read more...On August 28th, Ambassador Wilfried Bolewski participated in a debate about the Syrian crisis on TV channel France 24. As we are facing a potential escalation towards intervention-oriented military action, he was asked to bring to the debate his dual expertise as an international lawyer and career diplomat.

Professor Bolewski analyzed how a military intervention bypassing the United Nations would be legally justified under international law. He explained that the legally valid decision-making is based on the UN Charter and customary international law, along with the 2005 Responsibility to Protect initiative and the UN resolution on Libya.

Commenting on the consequent risks of such an intervention, Ambassador Bolewski noted: “Looking at the legal framework of any military action, you have to keep in mind that these actions are only accepted by the international community as a measurement of international customary law and whether they are necessary and appropriate.” He further went on to state what in fact were necessary and appropriate measures in accordance to the circumstances. In this case, he emphasized that the only legal aim is: to stop….. not to punish, as there are other judicial organs for punishment, such as the International Criminal Court.

On the proposed notion of regime change within the Syrian nation, Ambassador Bolewski said that a regime change within Syria would need to be justified by the defense of the entire population against inhuman attacks, and should be proposed only as a last resort. When asked about the influence of public opinion and whether it is a factor in swaying government action, Ambassador Bolewski stated that the acceptance of a military intervention by the national and international communities are of the greatest importance, not only in terms of legitimacy but also in terms of legality in the creation of international law.

A diplomat, lawyer and professor, formerly German Ambassador to Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas, Ambassador Bolewski teaches Diplomacy and International Law at AGS (see profile). Also participating in the debate were Patricia Lalonde, Researcher at France’s Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe, Philip Stonor, Former Deputy and UK Defence Attaché in Paris, Colonel Rick Francona, Retired Intelligence Officer, as well as France 24 journalists Philip Crowther and Catherine Norris-Trent.

Watch debate:



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Jennifer Grant USA
M.A., School of International Relations
Class of 2008

quote leftStudying at AGS has not only provided me with an intimate learning experience, but has also given me the opportunity to take advantage of the dozens of international organizations and NGOs in Paris that offer internships.quote right

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