How do small island states maximize influence? Creole diplomacy and the smart state foreign policy of the Seychelles

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A lack of capabilities is most often taken to imply a lack of influence. The foreign policy of the Seychelles provides a surprising case of successful small state diplomacy that counters this claim. With a population of less than 100,000 and a diplomatic service of 100 staff, Seychelles is recognized as a broker in international organizations and as an agenda setter in ocean governance. This article explores this success in four steps. First, we unpack why the current diplomatic success of Seychelles is a surprise. Second, drawing on literature on small state diplomacy, we identify three sources of small state influence: capability and location, political culture and institutional design, and political strategy. Third, we analyze recent Seychellois diplomacy in light of the four factors as well as the limitations of Creole small state diplomacy. We conclude by discussing what other small states may learn from the Seychelles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Indian Ocean Region
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)170-188
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - islands, ocean governance, maritime security, blue economy, diplomacy, Seychelles, Small states, Creole

ID: 201267823