Diplomacy in the 21st century is more proactive, multidirectional, and innovative than ever before.
Our world is increasingly interconnected, as demonstrated by the domestic impact of external issues. New subjects crowd the international agenda. At home and abroad, many actors participate in international affairs. Managing external affairs is more complex, involving focus on performance and reaching out to publics. This course gives insight into the contemporary practice of diplomacy and deepens understanding of significant issues in diplomacy management. The course is practitioner-oriented, and participants should have some prior knowledge of diplomatic theory and practice. The course was originally developed in a shorter, self-learning format for the Canadian Foreign Service Institute.
By the end of this course, participants should be able to:
- Identify the defining features of diplomacy in the 21st century (or 'globalised diplomacy'), and the change factors – the volatile forces in the current operating environment which shape and force diplomacy to adapt.
- Describe and analyse changes in the ways that countries deal with one another, including the new and changing roles of embassies.
- Assess the role of new actors in diplomacy, in particular public diplomacy.
- Identify and provide examples of different types of regional diplomacy groupings, and analyse the role, potential and opportunities of these new clusters.
- Critically assess the movement towards foreign ministry reform, and the impact of performance management in foreign ministries and provide examples.
Excerpt from course materials
In many countries people feel that their lives are shaped by world events that lie outside their control. They feel that the impact of external events is sharper, and more immediate than ever before in their daily lives. Terrorism is one such concern; in addition trade, loss of jobs at home, currency fluctuations and other economic factors, and even foreign cultural influences are perceived as problems or threats. Migration is another interconnected, home-external issue, both for the countries that are the sources of economic migrants and the receiving states. These are all facets of our interconnected world, a product of relentless globalisation.
This course examines the 21st century environment of world affairs, and the manner in which diplomacy has adapted to the post-Cold War world, dominated as it is by globalisation. Forces that operate within countries, as well as exogenous factors, have transformed the way the countries deal with one another, making room for multiple actors, new subjects in the international agenda, and changes that are driven by technology. We may call this ‘globalised diplomacy’.
- Globalised diplomacy: a survey of the diplomatic process, with special focus on factors driving change. We consider the environment in which foreign ministries operate; the enlarged, complex foreign-domestic interface; the consequences of the ICT revolution; human rights and the role of civil society; multilateral diplomacy; and human resource management.
- Regional diplomacy: this is a high growth area in external affairs, consisting of neighbourhood diplomacy, as well as 'plurilateral diplomacy', where groups build on principles other than geography. We examine the role, potential, and the opportunities that these new cluster formats offer, as well as the typology and the innovation incorporated. We also study free trade agreements and the limitations of regional diplomacy.
- Foreign ministries: Change and reform: after the Cold War, and the onset of rapid globalisation, most foreign ministries engaged in adaptation and reform. We consider the motivation, the models followed, and the priorities in the content of reforms. We also examine new trends in the training of diplomats. We finally consider the pitfalls in implementation of reform.
- The decision process and crisis and risk management: we examine the generic aspects of decision-making in foreign ministries, the decision categories, their practical application, plus crisis and risk management. In addition, we look at the various actors that furnish inputs into decisions, i.e. the official and the non-state actors, knowledge management, and building institutional memory.
- Performance management: in the public services, performance management (PerM) is the new mantra; MFAs have no choice but to comply with new public reporting formats, 'output budgets' and the like. We examine the impact along three tracks: measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the MFA and its subsidiary entities; application in human resource management; and performance reporting to publics. We consider the measurement criteria, the downside of performance management.
- The re-invented embassy: thanks to the revitalisation of bilateral diplomacy, the embassy (and the entire diplomatic process) is in renaissance. We consider the new and the changed tasks of embassies, together with relevant examples, plus the caution that needs to be applied in the 'reworked' embassy-MFA relationship, under evolution in some leading countries.
- Diplomacy of small states: a survey of a little-studied, yet current topic. We consider the empirical evidence, the options that small states have developed, and their exemplars. We also look at small state diplomatic behaviour, and the group diplomacy that small states practice.
- The public and image-building: we analyse image-building activities and the role of the public in foreign affairs. We consider the different models of public diplomacy, including the US experience. We look at methods of news management and the way the country brand is promoted. We consider the thesis that public diplomacy is now practised both abroad and at home, and centres on building and projecting a country’s soft power.
22 Jul 2019