2011: Diplomacy & Education: Discovering and Teaching Reality

Diplomacy & Education: Discovering and Teaching Reality
An Arthur Ross Discussion of American Diplomacy
Presented by AAD/ICJS
ICJS Conference Center on Montalto
June 13, 2011

“if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be.”
– Thomas Jefferson, 1816

Thomas Jefferson Photo

The principal objective of this conference was to explore the connection between education and diplomacy as envisaged by Thomas Jefferson in the context of the contemporary world. Just as education in Jeffersonian thought is universal, so is diplomacy. With the 21st century national security challenges the U.S. is facing today, it is important for Americans to understand what diplomacy brings; the reality of how it works as well as the goals of policy.  The conference explored how understanding of diplomatic practice differs from traditional diplomatic history and why these differences are essential to teaching realistic thinking about the potentials and the limits to the pursuit of vital national interests.  The speakers also discussed how current and future U.S. diplomats are being prepared, educated and trained for their careers.

Diplomacy & Education: 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 the above detailed 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.  The intent of this section is to capture much of that discussion in a way that may be helpful to those instructing in the general area of diplomatic practice, from regional and security studies to specific consideration of public diplomacy and how embassies do their jobs.

In the resources at the bottom of this page, you will find a number of tools:

  • A summary of the workshop discussion on alternative teaching approaches
  • A list of suggested readings on Diplomatic Practice
  • A summary of the overall conference.

We hope that you find these resources useful and would welcome your feedback.