by Marion Nestle
Aug 7 2012

Food Politics at the Department of State: Culinary Diplomacy

I’ve been sent a copy of the Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative. called “Setting the Table for Diplomacy.”

Its mission statement:

The Diplomatic Culinary Partnerships initiative builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, by utilizing food, hospitality and the dining experience as ways to enhance how formal diplomacy is conducted, cultivating cultural understanding and strengthening bilateral relationships through the shared experience of food.

I particularly like the idea of “using food as a foundation for public diplomacy programs to learn about different cultures and discuss important related issues such as nutrition, sustainability and food security.”


Everybody eats.  This is my kind of diplomacy.


  • John

    An army moves on its stomach.

  • Greg

    You mean rich diplomats holding fancy parties in lush surroundings while the rest of us starve and pay for everything?

  • Greg

    I think it would be much better still if they served *precisely* a cross section of what Americans eat. In fact, segment it on a person basis, so one diplomat at the party gets what the poorest 2 percentile of Americans ate that day, another gets what the next 4 percentile poorest, etc. up to the top, whatever billionaires likely ate.

    Maybe that would help them understand what it is they are supposed to be doing there. That would be much more productive. A little bit of *perspective*.

    Actually it would be better if they weren’t just given it, they had to earn it by doing the same amount of work, making the same sacrifices, taking the same risks, as everyone else does. Then we might get a little more perspective.

    That’s what we really need here. This only allows the Lords up at the top to stay out of touch with reality, which makes them entirely unqualified for what we the people say their jobs are supposed to be – making the world a better place. Of course I am sure they and their buddies would prefer another definition…

  • Hi Prof. Nestle,
    I saw your blog about culinary diplomacy and thought you would be interested in the concept of gastrodiplomacy. While culinary diplomacy is closely related to traditional diplomacy, gastrodiplomacy is more focused on public diplomacy. Here are a few articles I wrote on gastrodiplomacy.

    -Taiwan and Korea:




  • Pingback: Food Politics and Politics of the Table | Wandering Ecovore()