Parliamentarians have for decades been present and active in the international arena. 'Parliamentary diplomacy', however, has only quite recently become the common term used to describe the wide range of international activities undertaken by members of parliament in order to increase mutual understanding between countries, to improve scrutiny of government, to represent their people better, and to increase the democratic legitimacy of inter-governmental institutions. It is perhaps a sign of the times that this term has now been coined. The increased blurring of boundaries between national and foreign affairs means that parliamentarians must consider issues put before them with a global mindset. Correspondingly, the significance of international parliamentary contacts is growing, and it is unlikely to cease to do so in the coming years.