Celebrity Diplomacy and the G8: Bono and Bob as Legitimate International Actors

CIGI Working Paper No. 29

35 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2007

See all articles by Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI); University of Waterloo

Date Written: September 2007


The last decade has seen an increased accumulation of media snapshots of celebrity activism on the international stage, to a point where world leaders scramble to get access to figures like Bono and Bob Geldof. This paper argues that the global capabilities of celebrity diplomats should not be undervalued or dismissed. Where traditional sites of statecraft, such as the Group of Eight (G8), face a myriad of challenges of legitimacy and efficiency, a new type of transnational advocate has surfaced - one in which movie stars, musicians, and CEOs have eased into quite dramatically. Their ability to gain extended face-time with prominent national leaders, while their message is heard at both the mass and elite level means that they are engaging in the kind of widespread communication that underpins successful diplomacy. This paper demonstrates that above all others, Bono and Bob Geldof have become significant, ascendant diplomatic actors in a global system that is open to their inclusion in ways that very few would have anticipated.

Keywords: Celebrity Diplomacy, Bono, Bob Geldof, G8, rock star, advocacy, Bush, Blair, Gleneagles, Heiligendamm, process

Suggested Citation

Cooper, Andrew, Celebrity Diplomacy and the G8: Bono and Bob as Legitimate International Actors (September 2007). CIGI Working Paper No. 29, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1019091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1019091

Andrew Cooper (Contact Author)

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2

University of Waterloo

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1

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