1st Edition

Small Countries, Big Diplomacy
Laos in the UN, ASEAN and MRC

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 30, 2021
ISBN 9780367646004
September 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
168 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book shows how small countries use "big" diplomacy to advance national interests and global agendas. Using the case of Laos, it explores how a small land-locked developing state maneuvered among the big players and championed causes of international concern at three of the world’s important global institutions – the United Nations (UN), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Mekong River Commission (MRC).

Recounting the geographical and historical origins behind Laos’ diplomacy, the book traces the journey of the country, surrounded by its five larger neighbors China, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia, and influenced by superpower rivalries, from the Cold War to the post-Cold War eras. The book is written from an integrated perspective of a French-educated Lao diplomat with over 40 years of experience in various senior roles in the Lao government, leading the country at the UN and ASEAN; and the theoretical knowledge and experience of an American-trained Lao political scientist and international civil servant who has worked for the Lao government and the international secretariats of the UN and MRC. These different perspectives bridge not only the theory-practice divide but also the government insider-outsider schism.

The book concludes with "seven rules for small state diplomacy" that should prove useful for diplomats, statespersons, policymakers and international civil servants alike. It will also be of interest to scholars and experts in the fields of international relations and foreign policies of Laos, the Mekong, and Asia in general.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Do small states matter in global institutions?

1. The origins of Laos’ brand of diplomacy: Geographical, historical and ideational

2. Navigating the Cold War

3. Shaping global issues and policies at the United Nations

4. Embracing and leading ASEAN

5. Leveraging the Mekong River Commission to advance national and international agendas

6. Conclusion: Seven rules for small state diplomacy

View More



Alounkeo Kittikhoun served as Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to the UN for the Lao Government. Educated in Laos and France’s Université Panthéon Sorbonne, he officially led multilateral and bilateral negotiations in the UN and ASEAN for many years, and participated in international meetings and conferences in over 50 countries.  

Anoulak Kittikhoun is the Chief Strategy and Partnership Officer of the Mekong River Commission, and has worked for the Lao Government, the UN Secretariat Headquarters, and taught at Brooklyn College of New York. Educated in Laos, the Australian National University and the City University of New York, he is the first Tedx Speaker in Laos and has facilitated and spoken at international conferences, missions, and expert group meetings in over 30 countries.