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Input on a Diplomacy Merit Badge Proposal

I have been associated with Scouting for a long time and I am an Eagle Scout. Because of this great program I became a leader and learned through training and formal education what makes an even better leader. With that said, I proposed a new merit badge called Diplomacy. I think this concept is a something every good Senior Patrol leader and other leaders learn the hard way in managing and leading the troop. Our democracy relies on this and compromise to move forward. So, why not teach these skills to scouts and promote peaceful solutions to problems. If one thinks about this it is used everyday in personal relationships, work, church, organizations we belong to, in business and in government. However, sometimes people just don’t know the skills and processes needed for respectful solutions and they get angry and resort to the wrong approach. So, why not teach skills and processes that diplomats use? What do all of you think - is this a skill Scouts should be good at? Please provide input! I proposed and submitted to Nationals a year ago, even wrote proposed requirements and have not heard anything. I know it costs a lot to have a new merit badge but in this world where there is so much division. I think this could make it a better place and fulfill the Oath and law by promoting peaceful solutions. Can we find a better way to resolve conflict? Imagine a world with leaders that have skills to resolve conflict without angry, alienation, and who actually promote the great traits in the Scout law. Thanks for this forum and for your input! Yours in Scouting!

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The American diplomatic corps is a very rewarding profession, based on the friends who I know who joined it.
I think diplomacy in general is a much needed skill. I recently told a friend who teaches management consulting that corporate America is missing the boat by not training and recruiting former stay-at-home moms – especially of large families – for CEO positions. If anyone would know the nuances diplomacy …
Is it a skill that every scout needs by age 18? I’m not so sure.
Is it a skill some scouts should obtain/find interesting? Well, one of my friends mentioned above was a scout overseas, so maybe yes.
It’s unfortunate that you didn’t get feedback from BSA. Let’s see what some of these boots-on-the-ground scouters have to say.

I can see calling this conflict resolution might accomplish many of the same skills, but gain more traction.

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As a MBC for Citizenship in the World and a federal employee who has done some work at US Embassies, I’d ask you- is some of what you are suggesting already covered by CitWorld OR te rest of Scouting?

From my overseas experience with the US Government, I would proffer that the skills used by our diplomats can be found in the Scout Oath, Law, and motto. Additionally, our scouts learn these skills through the aims and methods. NYLTis another source of these skills.

Si, I’m curious what specifically you’d include in your proposed Diplomacy MB.

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Thanks for your reply and questions. Simply I think these skills are needed. Not only did I place diplomacy in this but mediation, proper debate, active listening and other skills and steps to succeed in group discussion, organizations, in work etc.

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Thank for your reply and input. I agree these are all in the Scout Oath, Law and motto. I think more detail is needed in the processes and procedures of mediation, conflict resolution, debate, and active listening along with understanding someone’s view and frame of reference. I also teach Citizenship Merit Badges and other merit badges and your are right there are elements in these merit badges but I think a capstone approach might be helpful as in the last year of undergraduates in colleges to put this together in a life skill.

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Great suggestion and that is in the context of what I proposed.

If you want more feedback, I suggest that you list the requirements that you proposed. From your high level descriptions, I am having a hard time discriminating the unique aspects of your proposal. It seems like you are getting some general suggestions where some hard, specific criticism might help you decide if your first proposal was inadequate and a revised submission would increase odds of selection to something greater than 1:399.

In other words what requirements does Diplomacy have that some recently approved badge, like Welding, does not? Four of my scouts earned Welding at summer camp and loved it. Show how Diplomacy’s requirements would do the same for 10% of a troop every summer.

Thanks for your input! Great questions. I will list the requirements I submitted.

In diplomacy there are no eternal friends or enemies, there is only internal interests.

I think this is an excellent idea. Particularly if you have in mind specific skills training. I liken it to the Public Speaking merit badge… many of the skills are taught elsewhere in Scouting, but this additional information is extremely beneficial. With the world changing so rapidly - jobs of today will not be the jobs of tomorrow - and employers are looking for people proficient in so called “soft skills” like these. Very timely! I will look to comment on the specific requirements you propose.

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Thank you for your comments. I will put the proposed requirements on this site and look forward to comments and improvements.

Thanks to everyone who has commented. As asked for here are the proposed requirements. I am eager to hear suggestions and comments. Thanks again.

DIPLOMACY

Merit Badge Requirements:

  1. Do the following:

A. Show that you know the meaning of diplomacy its methods and goals as defined from a reliable source i.e. (Britannica Online Encyclopedia or Webster’s Dictionary) by reporting it to your merit badge counselor, PLC, Patrol or Troop.
B. Read an article or publication from a reliable source ( such as the United States State Department) approved by your merit badge counselor on diplomacy discussing its meaning, goals, mission, history and application in history. Do the same for conflict resolution. Provide an oral or written report on what you learned and why diplomacy and conflict resolution are important and how one can use the methods in their relationship with others, in groups or in larger populations.
C. Compare the goals and methods of diplomacy to conflict resolution and contrast those elements that may be different.
D. Describe to your merit badge counselor or troop the ideas of diplomacy and how the Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan apply and can be an important part of good diplomacy.
E. Describe how diplomacy relates to the merit badges of Citizenship in the Community, Nation and World; Communications, First Aid, Sustainability and Environmental Science.
F. Describe a personal ethic that you believe in that promotes good relationships with friends, family, your troop and other groups of different ages, ethnicity, gender and diverse groups.

  1. Research books, materials and articles from safe and reliable sources approved by your merit badge counselor that illustrates the importance of always endeavoring to find peaceful solutions to conflicts. Write down and present 5 quotations regarding peace.

  2. Do the following:

A. List areas where diplomats work and list the purpose.
B. Research the United States State Department and the work they do in embassies, consulates and offices throughout the world and the United Nations.
C. List the ways the United Nations promotes peaceful solutions and their role in enforcement of treaties, resolutions, and agreements.
D. Pick a person in history that promoted peaceful solutions that ended or prevented violence, war and conflict. (i.e. Adli Stevenson, Henry Kissinger, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or others) Report your findings in leadership training or patrol, PLC or troop.
E. List (5) reasons for personal conflict and violence. Research an article from a reliable source (Psychology, Criminology, or Social Science textbook or other approved source by your merit badge counselor and parents) and ways to avoid conflicts and violence.
Discuss the impact of viewing violent videos, movies and other media and how that may affect human behavior and actions. What role does culture play?
F. Visit a museum or go online with approval from your parents and merit badge counselor that promotes or honors peaceful solutions or reminders that encourage diplomacy and peaceful resolutions.

  1. Do four of the following:

A. Explain to your merit badge counselor or troop leader what it means to be a “citizen diplomat” and how you can promote diplomacy in your community, state, country and those in other countries or those who have different views.
B. Obtain a flag booklet on the states in the United States and list those flags that have at least one symbol of peace. Discuss why those state felt it important to display those symbols.
C. Interview two of the following and ask what methods are used to resolve conflict: a mediator, a judge, school counselor or peace officer. Discuss the impact violence has on the community and nation and what risks may face those tasked with resolving conflicts and why they chose to serve in that capacity.
D. Invite a foreign exchange student to a troop meeting and discuss ways people can become friends and ways that good relationships can be achieved. Discuss the role of good communications, of mutual respect, tolerance for different views, how others view our country, ways to improve good relations and how they view the country the student is from. Discuss ways in the future that young people can improve the world.
E. Participate in troop leadership training and discuss why a good leader works hard to be a good diplomat. Discuss methods that a good leader may use which promotes a good troop, crew or team.
F. Explain the concepts of compromise, win-win negotiations, methods of peaceful persuasion for the benefit of all and why finding peaceful solutions honors God, Country, self and others.

  1. With permission from your parents, view with your patrol or troop videos from the United States State Department on methods and ways the United States uses diplomacy. Discuss how those methods can be used in a patrol, troop, crew, team or group.

  2. After viewing and learning about methods of diplomacy and conflict resolution, participate in five scenarios where those methods can be applied successfully at least two may be from a real conflict that occurred in your troop, patrol, crew, team or group. Report your solutions in writing and role play if needed with a written agreement that resolves the conflict.

A. A member of your troop, patrol, crew, team or group was called a name or was bullied by another group.
B. A fight occurs between two or more members of a group and it continues to divide the groups.
C. During a competition a heated exchange of words breaks out between two groups and continues so that it affects the goals of the patrol, troop, crew, team or group.
D. Discuss how political parties can resolve differences for the common good.

  1. Conduct a service project that promotes goodwill and promotes diplomacy in the community, state, or country.

  2. Recite the ten “C’s” of peaceful resolutions and discuss what they mean to have the courage to be:

  3. Compassionate and forgiving

  4. Caring

  5. Cooperative

  6. Compromising

  7. Communicative

  8. Committed

  9. Consistent

  10. Conscientious

  11. Courteous

  12. Considerate

  13. Describe actions taken by the United States that promote good will and good diplomatic relations. (I.e. disaster relief, medical aid, the Marshal Plan, peace accord and negotiations. etc.)

  14. Discuss how a troop, crew or team leader illustrated good diplomatic leadership in resolving a conflict. Commend that leader for their actions. Explore ways to develop those skills as a leader in Scouting.

  15. Explore careers in diplomacy or other fields where diplomacy may be used and report to your Merit Badge Counselor what the qualifications or requirements are for one career of interest. Describe to your Merit Badge Counselor how every scout can be a good diplomat in their relationships, community, state, country and as a citizen of the world.

Did some tweaking to fix the outlining to match what I think you meant (Discourse butchered it).

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My comments on this proposal:

Overall, it’s really, really book-heavy – I think some of this is really college-level work, not middle school or high-school level work (ex: research articles from criminology or psychology textbooks). That’s gonna be a turn-off to many Scouts.

Also, (in my not so humble opinion) Scouts shouldn’t be reporting out to their Scoutmaster, the PLC, the Patrol, or the Troop for merit badge requirements; they should be reporting out to the MBC only.

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I’ve always heard that MB pamphlets are an 8th grade reading level. I have never asked a teacher friend to “level” one or two, but that would be interesting.

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Personally I would read a book on this topic. As has been mention it might be too deep for an 11-18 year old scout. When I think of Diplomacy I would look and the Communications MB Pamphlet and Salesmanship MB to see how the requirements are written just to compare to what is being proposed in the MB. I selected those two because IMO, they are both heavily connected to diplomacy. You have to be a good speaker and you have to sell it.

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I agree with other posters that this is a very book heavy and a very high-level set of requirements. I am a middle/high school teacher, and I don’t have many students who would want to complete this level of work (some of them certainly can - but must wouldn’t as part of an elective merit badge).

In response to Matt.Johnson’s comment about the reading level of the MB pamphlets - yes, I would rate them at about an 8th grade level. In fact, most mainstream American newspapers and magazines are written at an 8th grade level. Take from that what you will.

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