National Protocol Officer’s Week is annually celebrated from March 28 to April 3. The week-long holiday honors the protocol officers in charge of planning and orchestrating international V.I.P. meetings, ceremonies, and special events for academic, business, government, and military purposes.
History of National Protocol Officer's Week
While it seems like a modern-day occupation, the concept of protocol officers has existed since ancient times. The first text aimed at social order and harmony was written by Ptahhotep in ancient Egypt. His book, “The Maxims of Ptahhotep,” covered topics on social etiquette and proper conduct to succeed in court circles. While the specific origin of protocol officers is unknown, Ptahhotep’s book inspired people throughout the centuries to appoint a person of contact to observe social order, keep the peace, and assure proper distribution of goods. Over time, this appointment quickly became a staple in different sectors, such as schools, businesses, and government offices.
It may sound like an easy task, but those who aspire to be protocol officers must be well-educated and accomplished. They study in schools like the International School of Protocol and Diplomacy, the Protocol School of Washington, the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, the European School of Protocol, and the Etiquette School of New York. They train alongside diplomats, business leaders, and military officers.
In 1916, the U.S. Department of State appointed the first full-time protocol officer responsible for diplomatic procedures and international customs and practices. On February 4, 1928, the Department established the first Division of Protocol led by James Clement Dunn. Later, in 1946, U.S. President Harry S. Truman made the Department of State’s Chief of Protocol the Chief of Protocol for the White House. By July 12, 1965, the Office of the Chief of Protocol had officially become a part of the Department of State.
National Protocol Officer's Week timeline
Ptahhotep writes “The Maxims of Ptahhotep” about social order and proper conduct.
The U.S. Department of State appoints the first protocol officer.
Dunn leads the Division of Protocol on February 4.
The Office of the Chief of Protocol becomes a part of the Department of State on July 12.
National Protocol Officer's Week FAQs
What is the uniform of a protocol officer?
Protocol officers should own Air Force uniforms so they can dress according to the demands of the occasion.
Are protocol officers multilingual?
Yes, most protocol officers learn different languages to accommodate and communicate with foreign visitors.
What college course should I take to become a protocol officer?
It is recommended to take international relations, public relations, or diplomacy if you’re an aspiring protocol officer.
National Protocol Officer's Week Activities
Attend the annual celebration in Washington
The Protocol School of Washington holds an annual event during National Protocol Officer’s Week designed to inform the public about the importance of cross-cultural communication led by protocol officers. Attend the event if you want to have all your queries about the profession answered.
Travel to job fairs
If you’re an aspiring protocol officer, the perfect way to celebrate National Protocol Officer’s Week is by attending job fairs. You could learn so much about future job opportunities and other information you won’t get anywhere.
Sign up for etiquette classes
While etiquette is just a portion of the protocol officer curriculum, it’s always a good place to start. However, you don’t need to be an aspiring protocol officer to attend etiquette classes. Sign up your kids for a crash course about etiquette and manners on National Protocol Officer’s Week.
5 Interesting Facts About Protocol Officers
A lack of accredited protocol institutions
The Protocol School of Washington is the only accredited educational institution for protocol studies in the U.S.
31 U.S. Chiefs of Protocol
There have been 31 appointed Chiefs of Protocol in the White House.
Shirley Temple was a Chief of Protocol
Hollywood actress, Temple, served as the 18th Chief of Protocol in the White House from 1976 to 1977.
Protocol officers follow strict rules
Protocol officers abide by strict rules, including being available anytime and anywhere.
They research potentially offensive customs
Protocol officers thoroughly research offensive customs and inappropriate language when foreign cultures are involved.
Why We Love National Protocol Officer's Week
It highlights proper conduct
Proper conduct and manners are often neglected nowadays. National Protocol Officer’s Week highlights the importance of good behavior, social customs, and excellent communication — things that should be passed on to the next generation.
It encourages hospitality
A protocol officer’s duty is to be hospitable to foreigners. So, National Protocol Officer’s Week is a great time for Americans to be welcoming to foreigners or tourists.
It celebrates the accomplishments of protocol officers
Protocol officers work tirelessly, and their achievements are often looked over. However, National Protocol Officer’s Week is dedicated to celebrating their hard work and accomplishments.
National Protocol Officer's Week dates