Foreign Affairs Minister
There are a number of terms that are used in the field of international relations. It is important to understand some of the key policy positions when discussing global affairs. One issue that I want to speak about is that of the Foreign Affairs Minister. Students of international relations may be asking who the key decision-makers are within countries, particularly as it relates to international affairs. While the President, Prime Minister, or top leader of a country still has the greatest influence over the international relations decision-making process, the role of the Foreign Affairs Minister (or Minister of Foreign Affairs (also known as Foreign Minister)) also serves a very important role in the context of global affairs.
The Foreign Affairs Minister position is “a cabinet minister who conducts and supervises foreign and diplomatic relations with other states” (Dictionary.com). However, not all countries call this position as the “Foreign Affairs Minister” or “Foreign Affairs Minister.” For example, in Britain, the post is entitled “Foreign Secretary.” In the United States, the title is “Secretary of State”
In the case of the United States, “The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department, which includes the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and U.S. Agency for International Development” (U.S. Department of State).
Often, the Foreign Affairs Minister represents her/his country in their international relations. So, for some, they may represent the country at international organizations such as the United Nations (although a country may have a specific position for a representative to the United Nations (such as the Ambassador to the United Nations). In addition to these different roles that the Minister of Foreign Affairs serves, they may also meet with foreign leaders to discuss global affairs issues (whether it is related to their alliance, or an issue that needs to be addressed). The Foreign Affairs Minister can also be tasked to lead diplomatic or peace negotiations between other international actors.
There are many other responsibilities. Each country is different. Here is one example of the responsibilities of a Foreign Affairs Minister (of Poland). Namely, the Foreign Affairs Minister
- maintains relations with other states and international organizations;
- represents and protects the interests of the Republic of Poland, Polish citizens and legal entities abroad;
- promotes Poland and the Polish language abroad;
- cooperates with Poles living abroad and supports Polish cultural and educational institutions abroad;
- organizes and supervises the activities of Poland’s diplomatic missions and consulates;
- proposes and develops the policies of the Council of Ministers in the field of foreign affairs; elaborates projects and drafts proposals for such policies and submits them to the Council of Ministers;
- implements policies adopted by the Council of Ministers and coordinates and supervises their implementation through the relevant agencies;
- fulfills the above tasks and responsibilities in cooperation with other ministers, national and local government bodies, the business community, trade unions and social organizations;
- represents the Republic of Poland in international human rights protection bodies;
- provides guidelines and supervision to the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw and the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan as well as to diplomatic missions, consular offices and Polish Institutes abroad.
Given the importance of the Foreign Affairs Minister position for a state, it is important to read on the works of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, paying attention to not only what sorts of work she/he is doing, but also the sorts of positions that the person is stating, which is often the position of the government that she/he represents.