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 Brown University

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 Thirteen 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 Carnegie Mellon University

Foreign Policy Issues (Ambassador Daniel H. Simpson)
This course draws on the instructor’s experience as a professional American diplomat for 35 years, in Africa, Europe and the Middle East and assignments in the United States. Given the organization of the U.S. State Department, Defense Department, military commands and intelligence agencies into regional areas of concern, each class will focus on a different, particular region – namely, the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, including the Caucasus, East Asia, Latin America and Africa.

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?

Somalia to Afghanistan/Iraq: A New World (Ambassador H. Allen Holmes)
This seminar examines the evolving use of military power, in conjunction with diplomacy, law enforcement and humanitarian/economic assistance, to resolve complex civil-military challenges to US foreign policy interests.

Practicing Diplomacy Abroad (Ambassador Howard B. 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.

The Study of Non-State Actors: “Preventing Them from Breaking Bad” (Ambassador Peter F. Romero)
This seminar combines the concentrations of International Relations and Security, International Commerce and Business, and International Development in the analysis of emerging non-state actors. Seminar participants are divided into four “regional teams” that are responsible for examining: The Middle East; South Asia; Latin America; and Africa.

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.

U.S Grand Strategy After The Wars (Ambassador Ted McNamara)  This course studies contemporary documents, which reflected and shaped the ideas and policies of the nation throughout its history, as the U.S. evolved into the superpower of today.

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.

U.S. 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.


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 Hamilton College

Making America’s Policy toward the Middle East and Related Regions (Ambassador Edward “Ned” Walker)
This seminar will examine the making of American foreign policy toward the Middle East in a period of deep divisions in the region and in our own country. We will focus on the role of the United States and the Administration as it seeks to deal with the problems of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, the Palestinians, Lebanon, the growing influence of China, terrorism, democracy, energy and the environment.

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.

Introduction to the History of American Diplomacy (Ambassador Charles Ray)
This course is a brief introduction to the history of American diplomacy from the founding of the republic to the present day, with an emphasis on the cultural and historical underpinnings of America’s diplomatic service.

Courses offered at The University of Michigan

Global Issues: Illegal Drugs and Terrorism (Drugs and Thugs) (Ambassador Melvin 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.

Winter 2014 PubPol 766 Issues in U.S. National Security (Ambassador Melvin 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 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 Pomona College

Civil-Military Relations in U.S. Foreign Policy (Ambassador Cameron Munter) 
Cameron Munter at Pomona This course examines some of the historical trends in civil-military relations in America, assessing how those relations have developed and how they affect foreign policy formulation today. It will seek to understand the military as a profession, and how that profession has changed in recent years. It will thus address theoretical models, study institutional influences, and apply insights thus gained to historical events of recent years. Students study civilian and military thinking, how that thinking affects policy, how civil and military institutions interact, and that happens to that interaction under the influence of current events.

Managing Diplomatic Crisis (Ambassador Cameron Munter)
This course provides an understanding of the context and real-world decision-making process faced by diplomats. It will present historical background on diplomacy; the American and international institutions of diplomacy; and then address specific instances in which diplomatic actors managed diplomatic crisis. By its nature, then, this course will outline how traditional diplomacy works, and, when it doesn’t work, how diplomats respond – itself part of the practice of diplomacy.

Courses offered at Princeton University

Topics in Foreign Policy and International Affairs (Ambassador J. Brian Atwood)
This course examines the practice and profession of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.

Courses offered at Texas Tech University


Tibor Nagy at TTU This 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 Tufts University

Seminar on United States Public Diplomacy (Ambassador William A. Rugh)
This course is intended to develop a detailed understanding of American public diplomacy, its history, its rationale, and how it relates to traditional diplomacy and other instruments of national power, in securing U.S. national interests.

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.