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Diplomacy and Communication


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


Diplomacy increasingly focuses on people and it is responding to societal trends at home and worldwide. This course builds on the MIRD introductory diplomacy module. It examines different ways in which communication-related issues are challenging 21st century diplomatic practice. The course will look at the evolution of public diplomacy, including cultural relations, and students will evaluate the debate on the future of public diplomacy in light of current international trends. At the heart of this course is the analysis of technological developments, especially the rise of social media and other digital tools, and the impact of fake news on diplomacy. Recent literature on selected cutting-edge issues (science & technology) and rising actors (international companies) in diplomacy are also subject to scrutiny.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will have:

  • a sound knowledge of the most important communication-related debates and practices in contemporary diplomacy.

  • a critical understanding of key theoretical concepts and debates.

  • improved writing skills aimed at a wider readership and including writing concisely.

  • honed group work skills.

  • learned how to deal with short-notice assignments.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course will be entirely seminar-based. with the lecturer in an intensive student coaching role. During class discussions all students make a contribution, they will prepare class work in small groups, and they will do an assessed writing assignment. The aim of this course is to give students a better understanding of communication issues in diplomacy reflection fast-moving change in society..

Course Load

5 EC

Assessment method

The final mark for this course is based on three equal components testing knowledge, and oral and written academic skills:

  • oral presentation – 33.33%

  • co-authored written assignment – 33.33%

  • individual written assignment – 33.34%

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.


The course will make use of Blackboard and an interactive classroom tool. By the start of the course students are expected to have opened a Twitter account so as to facilitate classroom debate on cutting-edge topics and emerging political issues.

Reading list

Compulsory readings will be announced. Optional background reading:

  • Jan Melissen, ‘Public Diplomacy’, in: Pauline Kerr and Geoffrey Wiseman (eds), Diplomacy and Globalization: Theories and Practices, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017 (second ed.)

  • Volker Stanzel (Ed.), New Realities in Foreign Affairs: Diplomacy in the 21st Century, Berlin: SWP Research Paper 11, 2018, 69 pp.


Use Blackboard to register for every course. The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division.


Prof. Dr. J. Melissen


This course is an elective course designed for MIRD students.
This elective is conditional on at least 5 students registering for this course.