Distance and Displacement in Consular Emergencies: Assisting National Citizens in Distress Abroad

By Karen Tindall.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

When a large number of tourists or travellers are affected by a disaster while abroad, there is pressure on governments to respond and provide consular assistance to their citizens – to engage in ‘remote crisis management’. However, the foreign ministry response is both facilitated and further complicated by the international nature of the response. This article seeks to examine the challenges of consular emergency management by exploring two manifestations of ‘remote’ in remote crisis management. Using case studies of three foreign ministries’ responses to three large-scale consular emergencies this article examines the logistical and practical issues of access, infrastructure, and resources; and the psychological and cognitive nature of connectedness and remoteness. This article argues firstly, because the consular emergency is viewed as a national or ‘domestic’ emergency (between a government and its citizens), this produces a state-focused response, thereby missing opportunities presented by the international context of the operation. Secondly, it argues that the psychological and cognitive manifestations of distance further discourage internationalisation of consular emergency responses.

Keywords: Consular Affairs, Crisis Management, Distance, Displacement, Foreign Ministry

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.167-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 616.722KB).

Karen Tindall

Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Canberra, Australia

Karen Tindall is a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. She has been a visiting researcher at the National Center for Crisis Management Research and Training, Sweden, and the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, and is completing a doctorate on large-scale consular emergency management.

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