What Makes a Good Ambassador?

The U.S. State Department holds that a good ambassador is knowledgeable about the country to which he is assigned, loyal to his home country, an efficient communicator, a successful negotiator and a strong leader. An ambassador is an honorable representative of his country and government. He is responsible for managing an entire branch of his country's foreign service and furthering his nation's interests abroad.

A good ambassador should possess in-depth knowledge about the place to which he is assigned. His success in crafting deals that are mutually beneficial to both nations depends on his level of expertise. He should master the language, know the place's history, understand the demographics, economy, social issues and culture. Preferably, the ambassador has lived in his assigned country for an extended period of time prior to his service.

The State Department further states that the office of ambassador requires strong leadership skills. For example, an American ambassador is responsible for coordinating the activities of the Foreign Service Officers and all representatives of other U.S. agencies in the foreign country. He cannot oversee such an extensive collection of staff unless he is a skilled administrator and delegator.

It is also critical that an ambassador be able to communicate and negotiate effectively. One of his most important roles is helping to work out treaties and other agreements according to the directions of political leaders. To achieve the aims of his government, the ambassador should be able to persuade foreign officials and not relent when faced with opposition.