The conduct of international relations is one of the oldest of social arts. It demands of individuals who will practice the disciplines of tact, discretion, poise, and fi nesse a special commitment and understanding of one’s own culture and the cultures of other peoples. Other than holding a doctorate in international relations, my true foundation for this work is in my family heritage. I am a descendent of a long chain of Fourth World diplomats — a chain that extends to the 17th century when the monarchies of France and the United Kingdom fi rst set out to claim trade routes and wealth in the Three Rivers region where the Algonquin, Abenaki, Five Nations Confederacy of Haudeno saunee and the Missasaqua nations had long lived. Important branches of my ancestors became cross-cultural diplomats mediating the often differing economic, social, cultural and political interests of the kingdoms, their business colonies and the interests of nations who at fi rst believed the small numbers of merchants, fur traders, slaves, and indentured servants to be a benefi t to them. My father’s family of farmers follows a single strand to one location in Bergdorf, Switzerland extending well before the existence of the Swiss Confederation of the 13th century. My mother’s family is rooted in North America, and the Orkadian Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. It is this family branch that contains more than 350 years of diplomatic history helping to defi ne the relationship between nations in North America and the French and English and eventually Canada and the United States. This history begins with my 17th-century grandmother Isabell Montour.