John Reynolds' double-sided wall of fragments and phrases from The Thousand and One Nights and language and terms from Robert Fisk's mammoth history of the Middle East, The Great War for Civilisation caught the eye of many visitors to The Armory Show, including a senior staff member of Independent Diplomat.
Independent Diplomat is the brainchild of Carne Ross, a former British diplomat who has worked on the Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East Peace Process in a 15 year career. Unhappy with American and British claims that Iraq was developing unconventional weapons, Ross testified in June 2004 at an official enquiry into the British Government's use of intelligence. Two months later, convinced he could no longer work as a mandarin in Britain's foreign service, he resigned. Later he published a book Independent Diplomat: Dispatches From an Unaccountable Elite taking the foreign service to task for making “bad decisions in closed rooms” and acting “with little or no consultation of the people in whose name those decisions are made”.
Ross' vision for Independent Diplomat grew out of his disillusionment with the current nature of diplomacy which he says favours the powerful and marginalises smaller, newer or transitional states. He founded Independent Diplomat to provide these governments and groups with high-level diplomatic advice, expertise and assistance to help them make an impact in the closed and complex world of international relations.
Click here to view a short ALJAZEERA documentary on Independent Diplomat.
Image: Carne Ross, founder of Independent Diplomat