Teaching Resources

Teaching diplomatic practice—how to think about accomplishing policy goals and how diplomats accomplish their work in the 21st century—is a growing area of teaching in American universities but not one that has yet received much detailed study as to either content or methodology. To fill that gap the American Academy of Diplomacy and the International Center for Jefferson Studies organized a conference on diplomacy and education The discussion ranged from Jefferson’s stress on the importance of an educated citizenry to alternative methods of teaching employed by former senior ambassadors. For more details about the conference content, please check the conference page: Diplomacy & Education: Discovering and Teaching Reality. This page aims at divulging the teaching resources derived from that work.

The first tool is a list of Suggested Readings on Diplomatic Practice

In the section below, you first find an annotated index to the syllabi used by workshop participants that explains what their courses cover, and each individual syllabus (click on the title of the course).  We hope that you find this site useful and would welcome your feedback.


Diplomatic Practice Courses Taught by AAD Members
Summaries and Syllabi


Courses offered at American University

Diplomatic Practice (Ambassador Anthony Quainton)
The course is designed to explore diplomacy both in theory and in practice, as a political process and as an instrument of foreign policy. It will consider the historical context for diplomacy as well as the ways in which diplomats interact with their own governments and with the countries in which they serve. The course is designed to examine how diplomats use and obtain information on the politics, economics and society of their host nations and to explore the future of diplomacy in an era of globalization and instant communications. It will seek to illustrate approaches to diplomacy through historical examples and contemporary case studies. It will look critically at the headquarters end of diplomacy, examining the functioning of the foreign policy bureaucracy and its interaction with overseas operations. It will also consider the relationship between diplomacy and intelligence and law enforcement operations and the growth in importance of “new “areas of foreign policy concern such as the environment, biotechnology, terrorism, drug trafficking, cybersecurity, and transnational crime. The course will focus primarily on U.S. diplomatic practice, but the material is also relevant in understanding the way other governments organize their diplomatic activities.

Public Diplomacy (Ambassador Anthony Quainton)
Public diplomacy seeks to promote a country’s national interests through understanding, informing, and influencing foreign publics and broadening dialogue between a country’s own citizens and institutions and their counterparts abroad. This course is designed to provide students an in-depth understanding of public diplomacy as an instrument of foreign policy. It will explore the history of U.S public diplomacy since the First World War and the motivations and approaches of various stakeholders. It will examine the constraints which impact the effective use of public diplomacy by the American and other governments. By the end of the course students should have: (1) a thorough knowledge of the enduring issues in public diplomacy, (2) an understanding of the various new and traditional public diplomacy tools that can be used to promote national interests and values; and (3) a capacity to relate foreign policy issues and cultural values to public diplomacy strategies in various areas of the world. The course is designed to enhance students’ writing, speaking and critical analysis skills that are essential in a professional career.


Courses offered at Brown University

US Foreign Policy: The Institutional Basis (Ambassador Brian Atwood)
This course will examine the institutions that influence American foreign and development policy. Institutions provide the organizational framework, rules and social structures that in turn impact on the policy positions of those who are part of them. The agencies and bureaus that make up the national security cluster have both professional expertise and bureaucratic qualities. We will delve deeply into these entities to understand better their jurisdictional authorities and professional perspectives. We will use case studies and roll playing exercises to enhance understanding of these orientations and their impact on the policy process.

Bilateral and Multilateral Policy and Diplomacy (Ambassador Brian Atwood)
This course will examine the practice and profession of diplomacy and its relationship to the policy process. The focus will be on bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; while the practice will focus on a U.S. context, the lessons learned apply to other nation states. We will briefly review the history of inter-state relations, including the international legal basis for diplomatic relations. The practice has evolved over the years and has been greatly influenced by modern technology; however, it continues to incorporate such common functions as policy formulation, representation, reporting, negotiation, intercultural contacts and interaction with the media, parliamentary bodies and other external actors.

Diplomacy, Economics & Influence (Ambassador Richard Boucher)
This course examines a dozen diplomatic situations to identify the players, their interests, their tools and how they produced outcomes. We will focus especially on the economic factors – pressures, incentives and influences – that contributed to the results. By examining these elements we will understand the economic tools of diplomacy and power, and how to wield them. We will look closely at China’s growing role in the world economy and consider how China’s rise will change world affairs. 

Skills for Future Diplomats – A Course in Fourteen Exercises (Ambassador Richard Boucher)
Future diplomats, whether they work for governments, corporations or nonprofit entities, will find new opportunities and face new challenges in promoting their international goals. They will work in a world where power is more dispersed, where players other than governments have a major role, where issues and organizations are social, cultural, regional and global rather than the sole responsibility of nation states, and where scientific and technological innovations are constantly changing the agenda and paths to influence.


Courses offered at George Mason University

PUBP 710-008: Geopolitics of Energy Security (Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich)

"Richard Kauzlarich, Director of the Center for Energy Science and Policy, SPIGA. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University"This course introduces students to the complex global setting where energy security and geopolitics intersect and the implications for policy makers.

Nation-states have a geopolitical identity or geopolitical aspirations for influence. Access to energy is an important factor is those aspirations. Even small states (like Israel and Azerbaijan) can play a global geopolitical role that impact on energy security. Indeed, geopolitics is about nation-states – individual states or groupings (formal or informal) of nation-states like the EU.


Courses offered at Georgetown University

Conflict Management and International Security (Dr. Chester Crocker)
Chester Crocker at GUThe seminar’s central focus is the challenge of creating security and building peace in the 21st-century. It introduces students to the “intellectual map” of the peace-maker by exploring a wide range of literatures and cases in order to identify the roots and sources of conflict, and illustrates the varieties of third party intervention for conflict management.

International Mediation: Strategy and Methods (Dr. Chester Crocker)
This seminar explores the role of mediation as an instrument of conflict management and a foreign policy technique. Students consult both theoretical and case study materials, and become adept at analyzing the suitability of diverse mediatory approaches and actors to concrete conflict situations at diverse stages of the conflict life cycle, using a five-phase model of mediation tradecraft.

MSFS 717-01: Creating a 21st Century Diplomacy (Ambassador Marc Grossman)
The profession of diplomacy and the role of the diplomat are rapidly changing. The existing system of representation of nation states has collided with the 24-hour media cycle, terrorism, globalization, climate change, proliferation, changes in demography and stresses on the institutions which make up the post-1945 landscape. Can diplomacy help meet the challenges of the 21st century?

Practicing Diplomacy Abroad (Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer)
This seminar looks at diplomacy as a political process and as an instrument of foreign policy. It examines the role of diplomacy and the responsibilities of the ambassador and other members of an overseas mission, explore the resources and techniques available to them, and review the way diplomats relate to the government they serve and the one to which they are accredited.


Courses offered at George Washington University 

The Conduct of American Foreign Policy Abroad (Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm)
This course focuses on authorities of the Ambassador and the Roles and Presence of Multiple U.S. Government Agencies Abroad.Skip Gnehm GWU

Capstone Course: The Conduct of American Foreign Policy Abroad (Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm)
This Capstone course examines challenges to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy caused by the proliferation of U.S. Government agencies abroad with their new authorities. Specifically, the focus is on the interface between the Ambassador and the representatives of other (non-State) US executive branch agencies, such as the CIA, the military, law enforcement agencies, and in the economic arena: Treasury, USTR, Commerce, and USAID.

The Role of The Embassy in the Conduct of Foreign Policy (Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm)
This course familiarizes students with the structure of the embassy including its representatives from other agencies (especially the Country Team), its authorities both formal and informal, and how it supports U.S. interests.  During the course, each student assumes the role of one member of the country team.  The professor will act as ambassador.  In this role-playing model, students will deal with hypothetical issues (based on real events), thereby developing an appreciation and understanding of how an embassy operates.

Cuba in the Global Arena (Ambassador Lino Gutierrez)
The course examines the early history of Cuba, including the circumstances of its independence and the role of the United States in the early years of the Cuban Republic. It examines how a small Caribbean island nation became an important player during the Cold War and the focus of a nuclear confrontation, and how Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution have managed to stay in power for half a century. The course takes a close look at United States relations with Cuba through the years, and how the Cuba issue has affected domestic policies in the United States and other countries.

The Evolution of Modern Terrorism and Counter Terrorism (Ambassador Ted McNamara)
The course focuses on modern political terrorism, from the mid-1960s to the present.  The first half, the course analyzes general and specific elements, including history; definitions; ideologies; national aspects; and global and regional factors.  It then looks at individual terrorist organizations to deepen understanding of the cultures, causative factors, strategies, structures, and ideologies involved.  The second half looks at counter terrorism efforts of those threatened.  It focuses on the thinking, methods, and institutions that underlie counter terrorism strategies of nations and international organizations.

US Grand Strategy After The Wars (Ambassador Ted McNamara)
Periods immediately following major wars cause fundamental changes in national security strategies of winners, losers, and non-participants, as they adjust to new power realities.  In the 20th Century, the U.S. witnessed basic shifts following: the Spanish-American War, WW I, WW II, (with adjustments after Korea and Vietnam), and the Cold War.  This course examines these “hinge periods” to understand the origins, evolutions, and outcomes that affected foreign policy for years afterward.  The introductory classes will study hinge periods during the first 125 years of American foreign policy, before turning in more detail to the 20th Century, the main focus of the course.

The Practice of Negotiation (Ambassador Ted McNamara)
This short, skills course will focus on selected international negotiations concerned with U.S. national security issues, and through analyses and exercises will try to develop students’ skills in the art of negotiation.

China and Africa (Ambassador David Shinn)
This undergraduate class operates as a seminar and looks at the totality of the China-Africa relationship both historically and on the basis of its current relations. It covers topical issues such as trade, aid, investment, security, political relations, and soft power. It also reviews briefly China’s relations with each of the 54 nations in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary text is China and Africa: A Century of Engagement by David Shinn and Joshua Eisenman supplemented by a number of readings.

Rising China and Africa (Ambassador David Shinn)
This course looks at the totality of the China-Africa relationship historically, currently and into the future. It is based on research beginning in 2007 for a book that I co-authored with Josh Eisenman published in 2012 by the University of Pennsylvania Press and titled China and Africa: A Century of Engagement. We are currently working on another book. The course, which covers both North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, pays special attention to China’s security relationship with Africa.

US Policy in Africa (Ambassador David Shinn)
This course, using the case study approach, focuses on the decision-making process in African conflict situations in Sierra Leone, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Somalia and Rwanda. The goal is not to gain a detailed understanding of each conflict, but rather to comprehend how the U.S. responded to them and to master the important decision-making factors in each case. The course relies on published materials as well as insights I gained as a result of my involvement in the policy process during three of the conflicts. The course requires considerable student interaction and includes time for extended class discussion, role playing several sequences of the Somalia conflict, class debate on U.S. involvement in Rwanda and a mock briefing on Sudan policy by small groups. It also includes role playing the positions of U.S. personnel at American embassies in Addis Ababa and Asmara on U.S. policy toward the conflict. The overall objective is to obtain a better understanding of the decision-making process while learning about six African conflicts.

Writing for International Policymakers (Ambassador Ross Wilson)
This seminar  involves short written assignments, as well as group discussions, aimed at developing the analytical and writing skills necessary to support, inform, and influence policymakers and to implement policy. Classes will consider the crisis when North Korea invaded the South in 1950 and the collapse of the Mubarak regime in January-February 2011. Students will write US National Security Council-style briefing memoranda, press statements, demarche points, and talking points.


Courses offered at Johns Hopkins University

America’s Wartime Diplomacy: The Politics of Coalition Maintenance and Alliance Management
(Ambassador Eric Edelman)
Eric Edelman The course examines the habits, norms, and institutional arrangements of alliance management that are rooted in the requirements of fostering and holding together sometimes fragile wartime coalitions. It also considers Cold War cases to illuminate U.S. alliance management practices beyond wartime.

Diplomatic Disasters: Statecraft in War, Peace, and Revolution (Ambassador Eric Edelman)
This course looks at mistakes made by intelligent politicians and statesmen in the midst of war and revolutions. It takes a broad view of diplomacy as statecraft, and not merely the technique of representation and negotiation, and it explores why and how competent diplomats can get it badly wrong.

Strategic Thinking: Concept, Policy, Plan and Practice (Ambassador Lino Gutierrez)
Strategic thinking sets a steady course for an individual task or an entire organization. Students discuss and debate strategic decisions that shaped modern history, including the use of military power to serve political ends. The course examines the development of warfare from the 19th century to the present, emphasizing strategic and theoretical concepts. Through readings and discussion, students develop their strategic thinking skills and apply them to myriad case studies.


Courses offered at The University of Michigan

Global Issues: Illegal Drugs and Terrorism (Drugs and Thugs) (Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky)

Melvyn Levitsky UMICH This course explores the global issues of illegal drugs and drug trafficking, international crime and terrorism. Course content emphasizes the study of drugs and terrorist organizations and networks, counter-drugs and counter-terrorism policy formulation and implementation, national and multilateral programs, and the international legal and organizational framework developed to deal with these issues. The instructor devotes attention to the similarities and links between illegal drugs, crime and terrorist organizations.

Issues in U.S. National Security (Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky)

This course examines international aspects of U.S. national security policy. It studies the Cold War preface to current policy as well as broad issues of substance, strategic doctrine and governmental processes affecting national security policy. This course examines and discuss the NSC system, the place of human rights and American values in national security policy, civil-military relations, unilateralism and multilateralism and the role of the United Nations, the use of force and its alternatives (sanctions, negotiations, private and public diplomacy), and the use of intelligence in decision making.


Courses offered at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Sierra College

History and Practice of Diplomacy (Ambassador Steven A. Browning)
This course will review how diplomats advance the best interests of their countries in an increasingly globalized international community. While the focus will be on American diplomacy, its history and practice from the founding of the republic to the present, the course will also briefly examine how a country’s world view shapes its diplomatic practices and will survey the evolution of diplomacy from ancient times to the present. How American foreign policy is formulated and implemented will be a particular focus. The course will end with a look at the challenges diplomats face each day and the skills they employ to meet them.


Courses offered at Penn State University

Foundations of Diplomacy and International Relations Theory (Ambassador Dennis Jett)
This course addresses the central tenets of diplomacy and international relations theories and the concepts that underpin the study of international relations. It surveys major theoretical paradigms and arguments concerning international relations including such substantive areas as international conflict, international law, international organization and international political economy.


Courses offered at Princeton University

Diplomacy and Protracted Conflicts (Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer)
Diplomacy has had mixed success in dealing with protracted conflicts. Diplomats have utilized traditional diplomatic strategies and tools; preventive diplomacy; coercive diplomacy; and crisis diplomacy. Protracted conflicts test the limits of these diplomatic modalities. They persist for extended periods, assume different personalities over time, pass through periods of intense crisis and periods of surface calm, and are resilient and resistant to resolution

The task force will assess what lessons can be learned from past diplomatic interventions in protracted conflicts. Students will examine case studies of intractable, chronic conflicts and study diplomatic interventions over time. They will present their findings to American policy officials.


Courses offered at Texas Tech University

Africa’s Role in the Contemporary World (Ambassador Tibor Nagy)

Tibor Nagy at TTUThis course presents Africa’s contemporary reality – the positive as well as the negative – by examining major current issues after briefly surveying Africa’s history, geography, societies and culture. Themes covered include: political developments; regional conflicts; human rights and women’s issues; economic development and poverty (including the role played by international assistance); humanitarian disasters, terrorism; and the environment and public health (including HIV/AIDS). The course also examines Africa’s role in US global policy priorities.


Courses offered at Yale University

Creating a 21st Century Diplomacy (Ambassador Marc Grossman)
What can diplomats do to meet the challenges of the 21st century?  Our workshop considers the principles and attributes which should define 21st century diplomatic practice and then tests these ideas through presentations, role-plays and written work.