International Protocols in Global Politics Video

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: International Trade Policy & Strategic Trade Policies

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Protocol
  • 0:31 Protocol and Courtesy
  • 1:33 Protocol as an Agreement
  • 2:54 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson will explain the different uses of the word 'protocol' within political science. In doing this, it will highlight protocol as rules of courtesy, as well as focusing on agreements like the Kyoto Protocol.


There are many words in our language which mean two things. For instance, 'light' can mean something that will help you out in the dark, but it can also mean not weighing very much. The word 'hand' can mean the part of your body attached to your arm, while it can also mean to give something to someone. Like these two words, the term 'protocol' can also take on two different meanings in the world of politics. In today's lesson, we'll take a look at these two meanings as we discuss the role of protocol in our modern world.

Protocol and Courtesy

Hitting on the definition most of us think of when we hear the word, when speaking politically, protocol can be defined as the rules of etiquette surrounding diplomacy. Further defining this, diplomacy is dealing with other nations though dialogue and negotiations. Stating it really simply, protocol is a set of international and political courtesy rules. For instance, just like my mom taught my siblings and me to stand and greet an elderly person when they enter a room, American protocol dictates that people should stand when the President enters the room as well.

Following protocol is an important part of most diplomatic meetings. After all, you do not want to offend a visiting diplomat (especially if you want something from them) even before the event starts. For example, diplomatic protocol states that the guest of honor at an event (usually a high-ranking dignitary or a head of state) should always sit to the right of the host. In other words, if the Queen of England came to visit, you better believe she'll be sitting to the right of our president. If not, this would be seen as an insult.

Protocol as an Agreement

With this more familiar definition of protocol covered, we can now move onto its other definition. Alongside being a set of courtesy rules, protocol also denotes an international pledge or agreement in which countries agree to proceed or act in a certain manner. Stating things very simply, a protocol can be defined as something nations or states join together and commit to doing. With this definition in mind, protocols are often added to treaties. An example of this is the Bio-chemical Warfare Geneva Protocol, denouncing the use of chemicals in warfare. This protocol was added to the very famous Geneva Convention.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account