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International Relations: on diplomacy and negotiations (HC TGC)


Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to Honours students

Maximum number of students: 40 Honours students Tackling Global Challenges (and 15 students Honours Class HA)


In 1899 and 1907 two international conferences – The International Hague Peace Conferences – took place with the aim to promote disarmament and peace. Unfortunately they did not prevent The Great War from 1914-1918. Despite the fact that the aims were not met at that time, the conferences are usually seen as the start of international cooperation in promoting and regulating disarmament and peace. Later on the cooperation resulted in the establishment of bodies like the United Nations

Including interactive lectures and The Hague Peace Conference Simulation, this course is about understanding and handling international negotiation processes, applying simulation- and other exercises in order to get to grips with theory and practice of handling disputes between people, companies, ministries and countries, resulting in organisational changes and the resolution of conflicts in a national and international context.

After the warming up conference in the weekend of 6 and 7 February 2021, moderated by students and the owner of Young Diplomats, the lectures of Paul Meerts start on Friday 12/2/2021 with an introduction of the subject matter, followed by an exercise to define it. After this bilateral bargaining will be practised and debriefed. The second Friday afternoon will focus on strategy and tactics, skills and styles, culture and conflict, interest and emotion. At the third Friday afternoon multilateral negotiation (UN) will be practiced. The fourth Friday UN multilateral and the peace conference will be discussed, debriefed and analysed. This includes a film of a real diplomatic negotiation process.

On Friday 12/3 the written exam will take place.

Course objectives

Students will learn how to prepare, navigate and conclude complex and complicated processes. They do so by getting acquainted with the difficulties supranational and intergovernmental organizations face in getting their interests in-line: the problem of managing complexity. Moreover they will learn about the tension between competition and cooperation in the in-between models and reflect on their own behaviour. You will not only analyse the procedures followed in The Hague Peace Conference Simulation, but also the process.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Have a better understanding of international political and diplomatic negotiation

  • Have a better understanding of their own behavior and that of their fellow students/negotiators.


On the right side of the programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Introduction meeting of one hour with the teacher and the students of the Honours Academy class

  • Seminars: four seminars of five hours each (participation is mandatory)

  • Preparation seminars and workgroups for The Hague Peace Conference and participation in The Conference (mandatory)

  • Literature reading

  • Final exam: several questions, six pages with answers

Assessment method

The assessment methods will look as follows:

  • 100% paper (3000 words)

  • The final grade will be reduced with 1.0 point of the grade for every missed lecture or participation on both Saturday and Sunday of The Hague Peace Conference Simulation. The total reduction of the grade can therefore reach a maximum of 5.0 (four lectures and one conference)

Reading list

The students will have to read ‘Diplomatic negotiation, Essence and Evolution'. This book will be – electronically - made available for free.

Other academic literature will be announced in class or via Brightspace.


Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally after successful completion of the Bachelor Honours Class.


Teacher: Dr. P.W. Meerts


Tags: multilateral negotiation, simulation, The Hague Peace Conference Simulation, diplomacy, reflection on process and relations, written exam

Skills: negotiation, multilateral negotiation, reflection on process, reflection on own behavior in negotiation, analytical skills