Galactic Diplomacy (sometimes called exodiplomacy) is the profession, activity, or skill of managing relations with extraterrestrials. It is currently part of exopolitics, and deals mainly with questions like "How do we prepare for (open) contact?" and "once contact is made, what do we do next?". As an ever growing number of individuals is experiencing close encounters of the third kind (contactee) and of the fourth kind (abduction), it is useful to make a first distinction between 'official contact,' i.e. with government organisations and contact with individuals / citizens:
- Track One Diplomacy is the official diplomacy as organized by governments.
- Track Two Diplomacy, also called "Citizen Diplomacy," is the name given to anything that happens at the non-official level and involves private actors, including NGOs, etc.
Track One Galactic Diplomacy focuses on representation models with regard to interaction with extraterrestrial civilizations and organisations. Who can represent who, and in what capacity? What (legal) framework is available to legitimise such representation, etc. ? It also focuses on the types of agreements that can be made between the parties involved: bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements, etc., and who would make these agreements.
Track Two Galactic Diplomacy focuses on initiatives that involve non-official channels. Contactees and abductees can be seen as cases of citizen diplomacy, where extraterrestrials have taken the lead to interact with private citizens. So-called Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind, i.e. contact upon request by private citizens, also qualify as Track Two Diplomacy.
Track One diplomacy - Official diplomacy
"Take me to your leader" - If ET were to land and ask to be taken to 'our leader', who would qualify for that? Who could rightfully claim to speak on behalf of all the people on Earth? Would it be the United Nations? It would seem like an obvious choice, but it is not within its jurisdiction to do so! It mainly deals with the relationships between its member states, where - in a limited amount of cases - the Security Council has the right to intervene in one or more member states if they are violating the rights of a member state. It does not have the authority to represent its member states in interactions with any organisation outside of itself.
Some initiatives are being taken, hoping to bring about a change in the UN treaty in order to allow it to function as an official channel of representation on behalf of its member states. Previous similar attempts have, however, failed.
The rule on Earth is that each sovereign nation represents itself. (Exceptions exist within the EU, where the member states have transferred a lot of authority to the EU. But even there, the rule is that the sovereign states have the default authority in all matters that the EU was not given explicit or implicit jurisdiction). With regard to Federal States, like, e.g., the US, Germany or Belgium, the matter can be even more complex, as the legal competence for some subjects can lie on a sub-national level. For a cultural exchange programme, e.g., in Belgium, the "cultural communities" (Flemish, French and German) would have the jurisdiction to sign treaties, and not the national government.
Needless to say that the current situation is far from ideal, as any extraterrestrial organisation that wants to enter into negotiations with the peoples of Earth, would have to negotiate with several dozens of sovereign countries, and possibly with sub-national entities of some of those countries. This lack of representational coordination also manifests at the level of the policies with regard to extraterrestrial contact, as each country is left to its own devices to come up with its own policies and strategies. Track One Galactic Diplomacy should therefore focus on representational models and on ways to harmonise, if not unify, policies of the sovereign nations with regard to extraterrestrial matters. It stands to reason that, ideally, the United Nations be given a role in that.
In this context, it is interesting to see that the UN held a number of secret meetings with regard to UFOs and the alien presence in February 2008.
Track Two diplomacy - Citizen diplomacy
As mentioned above, Track Two Galactic Diplomacy focuses on initiatives that involve non-official channels. Such contacts have been going on for decades. Indeed, both "contactees" and "abductees" can be seen as cases of citizen diplomacy. The first "contactee" stories emerged soon after the "flying disks" did. People claimed they had been contacted by benevolent, human looking "space brothers," who often showed them their ships, and on some occasions even took them for a trip. Unfortunately, several "contactees" turned out to be hoaxers, and undermined the credibility of the phenomenon as a whole. The first abductee stories seem to have emerged from the sixties onward. They came to prominence with the release of Whitley Strieber's Communion, and Budd Hopkins' Intruders. Research into alien abduction gained scientific credibility when well respected academics started investigating the subject.
In the cases of contactees ("close encounters of the third kind") and abductees ("close encounters of the fourth kind") the extraterrestrials have taken the initiative to interact with private citizens. A more recent phenomenon are the so-called Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind, i.e. contact upon request by private citizens. These include cases of telepathic communication and channeling, but also cases of UFO manifestations. Unfortunately, again, a number of "channels" turn out to be quite unreliable, and threaten to undermine the credibility of those who make serious attempts. Among the people and institutions who undertake serious attempts, we can mention:
- Lyssa Royal was one of the pioneers in the field; she published a book on it in 1994, called, Preparing for Contact and organised workshops on it;
- Steven Greer, too, organises contact seminars, called "Ambassadors to the Universe Program."
- The Exopolitics Institute offers classes in Galactic Diplomacy as well as an extraterrestrial contact programme.
- James Gilliland and
- Steve Moreno (Project Contact Initiatives) are also among the serious investigators.